Trick? Or treat? These tips will keep your Halloween a sweet and safe one.
When choosing a costume with your child, consider the fit, length and your child’s ability to safely maneuver in the outfit. Tennis shoes are the best complement to any costume. Be aware of costumes that have loose or flowy aspects, especially around Jack-O-Laterns or other flames. Look for costumes labeled ‘flame retardant.’ Outfit your costume with reflective tape to ensure visibility on that dark and spooky night. Because masks can block a child’s eyesight, consider using makeup to create that scary face. Patch test it beforehand to ensure your child doesn’t have a skin sensitivity. Put a name tag with your phone number inside your child’s costume.
When decorating your haunted mansion for the night, be mindful of trip hazards. Be sure walkways and stairs are free of obstacles and well illuminated. Consider using a battery operated candle or flashlight inside your Jack-O-Lantern, rather than a candle.
Prior to heading out to trick or treat, be sure your child has a healthy balanced meal to discourage filling up on treats as they walk around the neighborhood. As you venture out to collect the treats, be sure a responsible adult accompanies the children. Carry a cell phone with you. Older children should stick to a parent approved route and know what time they are expected to return home. Trick-or-treating in groups is best. Use sidewalks if available, or stay on the side of the road facing traffic. Stay on well-lit streets and only visit homes that have the porch lights illuminated. Limit your trick or treating to homes or neighborhoods you know.
If you are at home answering the door for the goblins and ghouls that ring the bell, consider offering a healthier option than candy. Be mindful of allergies, especially to peanuts and tree nuts. Great alternatives include non-food treats such as small packages of bubbles, sugarless gum, crayons, stickers or pencils. Food treats that are healthier alternatives to candy include packaged pretzels, popcorn, raisins or snack crackers. Limit candy bars to smaller ‘snack size’ treats. One treat per child is plenty!
Once your little ghosts float back home with their loot, inspect it for potential allergens, choking hazards and open packages. Once you give the go-ahead, it is ok for your kids to indulge tonight only! Many parents feel that allowing their kids unlimited access to candy on Halloween night makes it easier to ration the remaining candy over time. Once the feast is finished, take all of the candy and store it where kids won’t have free reign (or possibly where you won’t find it craving a midnight snack!). Consider donating some of the candy your child receives to local hospitals, nursing homes or military bases. Halloween candy can be a learning opportunity too! Have your child sort like kinds of candy. Count the stash, or make a graph depicting the types of candy. Read nutrition labels with your child and identify why candy is a ‘sometimes’ treat.