Next to Christmas, Halloween is probably the most exciting day of the year for kids. With candy, costumes and frightening Halloween decorating ideas, there’s not much you can do to keep them calm!
But trick-or-treating can be a little scary for parents with all the ghosts and goblins out on the streets. Parents never know what could be lurking around the corner. But there are ways to keep your kids safe and to give you peace of mind. Here are a few tips for trick-or-treating this Halloween.
It’s easy to let your kids choose what they want to dress up as for Halloween. What’s not easy is making modifications to their costumes to make them safe. Make sure their outfits:
• Are flame-resistant;
• Have masks that don’t obstruct your kids’ vision;
• Have headdresses which don’t cover their ears;
• Fit well (so they will not trip);
• Have props (swords or knives) that are made of soft materials; and
• Have something reflective on them (so drivers can see them crossing the street).
Your kids need to be protected from themselves almost as much as they need to be protected from outside forces. Taking a little extra time to adjust their costumes to make them safe may help you relax a little. Your kids can help you with this one, if they trick-or-treated in your neighborhood last year. Have them figure out which houses had the best candy and base the route on this.
If you’re not planning to go with them, you’ll at least know where they are headed and how they’re getting there. If you go with them, the parent in charge of handing out candy at your house will have an idea of where you might be in case of an emergency. Only older kids should be allowed to trick-or-treat without an adult. It can be exciting to be wandering the streets on their own, dressed up in scary costumes, which is why your kids need to be reminded to be careful.
While they’re out, remind your kids to:
• Walk only on sidewalks;
• Obey traffic signals;
• Only walk on well-lit streets;
• Never enter someone’s home;
• Be home at the designated time; and
• Save all their treats to eat at home.
Your kids’ first instinct is to go to town on the candy, but make sure to inspect everything before they start sampling their goodies. Some neighbors may try to sneak in healthy treats like fruit or homemade goods, but you should only let your kids eat the treats that are pre-packaged and sealed when they arrive at home.
Let them eat a few of the treats and put the rest away so they don’t over-indulge and end up with a belly ache before bedtime. Before they recover from their sugar comas, try portioning the candy. In the days following Halloween, giving them just a little bit can reduce the risk of cavities and weight gain, as well as keep their blood sugar balanced.
Raymond Cox is the Harlan County extension agent for 4-H youth development. Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.