Trick or treat!
It’s almost time for one of the best kid holidays of the year–Halloween! Kids of all ages eagerly anticipate Halloween, where they can transform into their favorite character and express their creativity with fun costumes and spooky crafts.
But all the Halloween fun comes with a dark side–children are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year. National PTA wants to make sure you have a great evening out with your trick-or-treaters while keeping them out of harm’s way.
Here are 10 safety tricks to help your kids have a fun–and safe–Halloween.
1. When in Doubt, Stay the Route
Plan your trick-or-treating route in advance and familiarize yourself with it. Drive it at night to see if it is well-lit. Look for sidewalks, and if there aren’t any, look at the traffic pattern (is your route on a road that people use as a cut-through, so there is more traffic?). If your kids are older and going out on their own, make sure they know their route–and ensure they tell you where they are going.
2. Being Seen is a Good Thing
Reflective tape is your BFF on Halloween. The more, the better! Make sure your child’s costume has reflective tape so they can be seen. Avoid all black costumes that are hard to see in the dark.
3. Groups This, Group That
Trick-or-treating is more fun with friends! Your kids should go out in groups or always be with a trusted adult. Be sure they understand to never run off with someone they don’t know or go into a stranger’s house.
4. Stay Lit
As the kids say, lit is it…right? Have your kids wear glow sticks or carry flashlights. Choose costumes that may incorporate lights (think light sabers, lanterns or headlamps). Also, only visit well-lit houses and neighborhoods.
5. Look to the Left, Look to the Right
Like the Cupid Shuffle, teach your kids to look both to the left and to the right before crossing the street. Remind them to always use crosswalks when they are available.
6. Sidewalks are Our Friends
Kids are super excited on Halloween and have a tendency to run from one house to the other with parents trying hard to keep up. Remind them to stay on the sidewalks or paths to stay safe. If there is no sidewalk, you may want to consider finding another route.
7. Know Your Surroundings
Halloween night can be a bit crazy! Kids of all ages are running around in the dark and going up to houses they don’t know to ask for candy. In their excitement, kids often throw their common sense right out the window. If you are following your kids, stay vigilant and trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel or look right, direct your kids to move along. For older kids going out on their own, give them this same advice.
8. Have an Emergency Meeting Place
As we’ve said, Halloween night can be a bit crazy. It can be easy for parents and kids to get separated. Before you head out, talk to your kids about what to do if they get lost. Designate a meeting place to go to if they can’t find you. Instruct them to stay there until you arrive. When you are scoping out your route, bring your child along and pick your safe meeting place so they know where it is and how to get there.
9. All Treats Cleared for Take Off
After the mad rush of trick-or-treating, be sure to sort through your child’s candy haul. Look for open packages or signs of tampering. Also check if there are any choking hazards.
10. Have Fun!
Halloween brings out the kid in everyone. Dress up with your kids, put up spooky decorations, make Halloween treats, and most of all, have fun!
Niki Taylor is a communications consultant with Niki Taylor PR.