The spooky season is upon us! This is the season that brings out the joy of playing dress up at all ages, decorating your home a littler different than in the holidays to come, giving out treats to the familiar and unfamiliar (sometimes scary) faces, and engaging with your neighborhood as a whole.
The holiday itself has grown in its popularity, and not just among the youngsters. In 2005, only about 50% of adults engaged with the holiday, yet today, 70% of adults intend to engage with Halloween. Its with this growth in attendance, there is a reminder of needed Halloween safety.
Halloween really is truly loved by so many and, with the rich history it has come from, it’s for a good reason!
The beginning of the Halloween we know today is often marked back to the 8th century.
And with a tradition this old, you would think we would have learned how to do it perfectly– the most safe, spooky, and sweet– yet, there is still an average of 3200 – 3600 injuries and accidents each year that send little monsters of all ages to the ER.
With this in mind, we wanted to share with you some of the tricks to keeping your treating safe! Halloween safety should be a part of every costume.
Halloween Safety: Costume Safety
When you think of Halloween, you often think of the costumes donned and the characters embodied that walk down the street, knocking on doors and asking for treats.
The tradition came from the era of Celts wearing disguises and masks to evade the ghosts and spirits that come this time of year, as the veil becomes thinner.
As the old tradition evolved, though, this hallmark of the holiday has taken a different role, giving each person the opportunity to have their fun being someone (or something) different for the night.
The heart of Halloween lies in dressing up in creative and imaginative costumes. It is even noted that 47% of those who participate in Halloween dress up each year.
Some costumes are elaborate and some costumes are that last minute rushed idea, fueled by throwing together whatever wemay have laying around.
Regardless, costume safety should be a top priority when considering Halloween safety:
- – Visibility: Choose costumes with bright colors or add reflective tape to make your child more visible to motorists, especially if you’re trick-or-treating after dark.
Its the trick-or-treating after dark that can get the kiddos excited, and ready to fill their candy bags until they’re almost too heavy to carry.
Be mindful about the costumes they wear on that conquest though, as visibility is incredibly important.
Halloween is the most dangerous yearly night for child pedestrians, as vehicle accidents peak, with nearly 10x higher fatality rates for 4-8 years olds.
- – Fit: Ensure that costumes fit well and are not too long, reducing the risk of tripping or falling.
We discussed seasonal trip hazards and the potential injuries that may come from it in one of our blog entries last winter, so when we say to ensure safe walking, we mean it!
- – Flame Resistance: Opt for flame-resistant fabrics to prevent accidents around candles and jack-o’-lanterns.
Many store bought costumes are made of cheaper and more flammable materials. If possible, choose those flame resistant fabrics when available.
- – Masks: Masks can obstruct vision. Consider using makeup or face paint instead, or choose masks that allow for clear vision and easy breathing.
Not only is visibility, or being seen, important, but so is being able to see!
- – Props: Props can make costumes that much more believable and engaging. Ensure props are soft, flexible, and free from sharp edges to minimize the risk of injury.
Costumes are a staple to Halloween but shouldn’t also be a risk. With a risk of costumes being made out of potentially flammable materials, being mis-sized or having dark and sharp elements to them, costume safety is a key part to Halloween Safety.
Halloween Safety: Trick-or-Treating Safety
You, your friends, your kids, and your kid’s friends are all dressed up, ready to get out there and get trick-or-treating! Halloween safety includes trick-or-treating safety.
- – Adult Supervision: Young children should always be accompanied by an adult while trick-or-treating. This may sound like a given, but always needs repeating.
- – Group Trick-or-Treating: Encourage older children to go in groups and establish a clear route in advance. Trick-or-treating is more fun with friends, and fortifies the needed Halloween safety.
- – Stick to Well-lit Areas: Choose neighborhoods with well-lit streets and sidewalks, and avoid unfamiliar or poorly lit areas.
Though darkness is a large part of the spooky experiences and the time of night that Halloween is celebrated, it is still important to ensure you and those you are with are seen and can see what is in front of them.
- – Use Sidewalks: Always walk on sidewalks, and if there are none, walk facing traffic.
We tend to see the throngs of people criss-crossing the streets in large numbers, but remember, keeping to sidewalks is always the safest bet.
- – Crossing Streets: Teach children to look both ways before crossing the street and to use crosswalks when available.
- – Stranger Danger: Remind children not to enter strangers’ homes or accept rides or treats from unfamiliar adults.
With everyone in costumes and masks, this is another reason why sticking to well-lit areas, traveling with adult supervision and in groups is a necessary part of Halloween safety.
- – Candy Inspection: Before indulging, inspect all treats for any signs of tampering. Discard any open or unwrapped items.
There are many stories that have come out in regards to what may make accepting candy from so many neighbors, and essentially strangers, a dangerous risk. There have been no confirmed random poisonings of candy handed out en masse, though there have been cases of sharp objects hidden in candy.
Trick or treating safety is Halloween safety. With so much excitement, so many costumes, and so many people, there is a lot to keep track of. Be aware, it will pay off.
Halloween Safety: Home Safety
While some of your family and friends might be out with the neighborhood, you might be the one staying home to hand out treats. If so, consider these Halloween safety measures:
- – Clear Pathways: Keep your walkways and entry points well-lit and clear of obstacles to prevent tripping hazards.
- – Pet Safety: Keep pets indoors or securely restrained to prevent them from becoming frightened or aggressive.
There are many guides available as to how to make Halloween less scary for your furry friends
- – Decorations: Ensure decorations are fire-safe and do not block exits or walkways.
- – Candy Allergies: Consider offering non-food treats for children with allergies, like stickers or small toys.
Keep this in mind, from FoodAllergy.org, “while the top 9 allergens account for over 90% of reactions, there are over 200 reported allergens, and because of this, there is no such thing as “allergy-free” candy.”
Just because you may not be out in the streets meeting the monsters and ghouls doesn’t mean there aren’t Halloween safety measures that can also be taken at home.
Halloween Safety: Pumpkin Carving Safety
Pumpkin carving is a big and beloved Halloween tradition.
Even the largest pumpkin ever grown in North America became the largest jack-o-lantern, taking 11 hours to carve. Though your family carving pumpkins may not be as extensive, it is still an essential to Halloween safety to keep the tradition safe.
- – Adult Supervision: Children should never handle sharp tools. Adults should handle carving tools.
Of the average injuries every year, nearly half were pumpkin carving related.
- – Use Tools Safely: Always cut away from your body, use carving tools designed for pumpkins, and take your time.
- – Flame Safety: Use battery-operated candles or LED lights instead of real candles inside jack-o’-lanterns to prevent fire hazards.
Each year, an average of 1000 fires are caused by actively lit decorations, including pumpkins with candles in them
Halloween Safety: Allergy Awareness
Food allergies are a significant concern, especially on Halloween. Remember, one of the biggest traditions includes receiving and consuming food and candy from many that may not know about your allergies.
- – Allergy-Friendly Options: Consider offering allergy-friendly treats or non-food items to accommodate children with allergies.
- – Labeling: If you’re giving out homemade treats, label them clearly with ingredients to help parents identify potential allergens. Even further, if you or someone you know has allergies, consider not accepting or discarding any candy given out without labels on them.
Halloween is a spooky and scary holiday. Following this awareness around Halloween safety can lessen the unnecessary scares, and keep you having fun in the grand monster mash.