Halloween is one of children’s favorite holidays with candy, costumes, pumpkin carving, and so much more. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates 36 million trick or treaters ranging in age from five to thirteen years hit the streets across the United States last year. Safety precautions are vital to holidays such as Halloween with children roaming the streets in scary outfits and going door to door for “Trick or Treating.”
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) reminds parents to take a moment to consider basic safety precautions that will make Halloween a safer night of fun. NCMEC gives nine things parents can do to make Halloween safer:
- Plan a route in a familiar neighborhood with well-lit streets.
- Never send young children out alone. Older children should travel in groups.
- Always walk with younger children to the door and do not let children enter homes unless you are with them.
- Be sure children do not approach any vehicle, unless you are with them.
- Discuss pedestrian safety rules. Like looking both ways before crossing the street.
- Consider organizing a home party as an alternative to “trick-or-treating.”
- Make sure children know their home phone number and address in case you are separated, and teach your children to call 911.
- Teach children to say “No” or “this is not my mother/father” if someone tries to get them to go somewhere, accept anything other than a treat, or leave with them. Make sure to teach them that they should make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming and resisting.
- Remind children to remain alert and report suspicious incidents to parents and/or law enforcement.
Other things you can do to make your child safer during Halloween night could be: have your child or yourself carry a well-lit flashlight, add reflective tape to your child’s costume or candy bag so they can be seen by vehicles, make sure your children know to walk, not run, stay on the sidewalks, wear a watch that can be seen in the dark, approach only houses that are lit and make sure your children know how to say thank you after receiving your treats!
After the “Trick or Treat” festivities are over there are precautions that need to be taken into consideration when you or your children get home. After children get home, sort and check all treats. Throw away spoiled, unwrapped, opened or suspicious treats. Make sure to divide up treats for the days following Halloween. Be sure that items that can cause choking are given only to those of children of the appropriate age.
Halloween is a fun, memorable night for all ages. Safety can make the night go smoother and reassure you as a parent. Enjoy this time with the children and have a safe Halloween!