Halloween is here! While your family enjoys some tricks and treats, it’s important to make sure that kids have a fun and safe Halloween. Share these tips from the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) and the Voice of Play with other parents in your neighborhood, and the only thing that will cause a fright is the door opening to a few ghosts and monsters.
1. Learn the history of Halloween
Did you know that the Celts believed ghosts of the dead would return to earth for one night on October 31 and cause mischief? It is certainly a different story from what is told today, so retell the original story to your children!
2. Create your own costumes
Most store-bought costumes already come with predetermined props and looks. Let your child’s imagination take over by letting him/her pick out costume specifics. This pretend play has many benefits for kids, including enhancing social, emotional and thinking skills!
3. Make your own decorations
Let your kids create their own jack o’lanterns using paint or have them create other Halloween decorations, like ghosts and spiders. These can be made from pipe cleaners and old sheets or other craft materials you may have lying around the house. Crafting lets children express their creativity, as well as providing an outlet for emotions and more.
4. Dress up with your children
When you dress up with your children, you’re encouraging them to use their imaginations. If they have a favorite book or story character they are being for Halloween, dress up as another character and imitate that story, bringing it alive.
5. Choose face paint over masks (if/when possible)
Masks not only make it difficult to breathe at times, but they can also hinder vision. Opt to paint your child’s face instead of purchasing a scary mask.
6. Keep costumes safe
Since trick-or-treating often takes place at night, add some reflective tape to your child’s costume for visibility. You can also have your child carry a flashlight or wear a glow stick around his/her neck. Make sure the costume is of a length that won’t cause your child to trip and fall.
7. Be alert when walking around
Make sure kids are supervised by an adult or older teenager that you trust while trick-or-treating. Remind your child to look both ways before crossing the street, watch for cars and remain vigilant when walking around house to house. Err on the side of caution if you are out and see anything or anyone suspicious.
8. Stay on sidewalks or the edge of the road
Remind your child to stay on the sidewalk and don’t enter houses or take shortcuts through yards or alleyways. Sidewalks provide the light children need to see where they are headed.
9. Turn trick-or-treating into a game
If kids aren’t listening to the rules or being safe, make a game out of going house to house. Encourage your children by offering a special treat or the chance to stay up 15 minutes past their bedtime if they look both ways before crossing the street.
10. Drive safely if outside
If you are on your way home from work or driving your kids from house to house, be extra cautious. Make sure that headlights are on for kids to see and for you to see kids who may be farther away. Drive under the speed limit and keep an extra eye on surroundings. Children are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year. Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, ahead of all other types of injury, violence or disease in the U.S.?
11. Make your yard safe
If you’re the one handing out the treats, make sure that your yard is clear of any objects that might cause a disturbance or hazard to children. Also, turn on your exterior lights to welcome children and to light a pathway to your door.
12. Check your kids’ treat bags after trick-or-treating
To make sure your kids don’t get sick from any harmful treats, look through their bags for any unwrapped or tampered-with treats. Discard anything homemade from neighbors or people you don’t trust. To ensure your kids won’t gorge themselves on candy after coming home, feed them a filling meal or snack before they head out to find their treats.
13. Throw your own party
Avoid tampered candy and potential accidents by hosting your own Halloween party! Prepare your guests with scary stories, creepy games, monstrous music and movies, and more. Invite other parents and their kids to join the fun or to bring a covered dish.
Stay safe this Halloween!