Batman and spiders and pumpkins, oh my! Halloween is an exciting time for both kids and adults, but with it comes the need for important parent-child conversations about night time safety.
UnityPoint Health –Des Moines is here to make sure you and your family have a merry, not scary, Halloween!
1. Make a Game Plan
The first step to ensuring a safe Halloween experience is sitting down with your family to devise a game plan. It is always a good idea for children to have adult supervision late at night, so make sure your children have a chaperone. If you, or your spouse, are not able to participate, contact the parents or guardians of someone who can. Older children trick-or-treating without adult supervision should travel in a group of four to five people. Send your child with a cellphone in case of emergency as well as a curfew to avoid any confusion.
2. Talk About Stranger Danger
One of the most important conversations you can have with your children in regard to Halloween safety is about stranger danger. Teach your children to never talk with strangers, especially at night, and to only trick-or-treat at familiar, well-lit houses in your area. Make sure they know to never enter a stranger’s home or car.
3. Choose a Route
Picking a route close to home is a safe Halloween practice. Always remain on the sidewalk and never cut through yards, streets or alleys. Avoid busy streets, and make sure your neighborhood route is well-lit and easy to navigate. If your older children will be traveling without adult supervision, practice the route in daylight together and remember to look both ways before crossing the street.
4. Consider Costume Safety
As your kids decide which superhero or princess they want to be this Halloween, consider costume safety before you agree.
- Costumes should fit well to avoid tripping or slipping on extra fabric
- Accessories, like play swords and knives, should be short, soft and flexible
- Make-up should be tested on a small area of skin for allergies
- Colored contacts should be avoided to lower risk of eye injury
- Eyes should not be covered by hats, wigs or masks
5. Be Seen
Night time adds an exciting element of spookiness for Halloween goers, but it also sets the scene for a number of safety hazards. Keep your kids safe by planning costumes that are bright and visible. Have your kids carry flashlights and add visibility tape to their costumes or trick-or-treat bags. The addition of glow-in-the-dark necklaces and bracelets can also be a fun way to add even more visibility.
6. Display Safe Decorations
Certain Halloween traditions can be moderated for safe practice. Consider decorating pumpkins with paint or markers instead of carving with sharp knives. Instead of placing candles inside of jack-o-lanterns, use battery operated lights. Lastly, make sure the Halloween decorations on your front porch and lawn are off the ground or away from the walking path to prevent trips and falls.
7. Practice Safety at Home
If you plan to hand out treats at your house this Halloween, remember to check the light bulbs at the front of your house and clear your sidewalk and driveway of sticks and leaves. Buy a variety of packaged treats to please different pallets and allergies. Be even healthier by handing out nutritious snacks or non-food goodies like coloring books, pencils, etc.
8. Double-Check Treats
Make sure your kids know to only eat packaged candy and treats that have not been unwrapped. Homemade treats may be unsafe and contain ingredients that can be harmful for people with certain allergies. Even better, have your kids wait until afterwards to eat their treats when you can double-check that they are safe and edible. Whichever method you choose, remember that sugary sweets should always be eaten in moderation.
9. Throw Your Own Halloween Bash
Bring the Halloween fun to your house by throwing your own party. Offer healthy snacks for guests and fun outdoor games to get the kids active. It’s a good way to keep everyone in one place and eliminate the worry about certain night time safety hazards.
10. Drive Slowly and Safely
As you drive from place to place in your vehicle this Halloween, be mindful of your speed and make complete stops. There will be lots of little kids in dark clothing running from through your neighborhood, so keep your eyes peeled for safe measure.
Have a #healthyhalloween with UnityPoint Health – Des Moines
How are you keeping your family safe this Halloween? Enter the #healthyhalloween photo contest on the official UnityPoint Health – Des Moines Facebook page by posting an original photo with a caption explaining how your family is choosing to be safe this Halloween. View complete contest details here. Winners will receive a $20 certificate to the Downtown Des Moines Winter Farmers’ Market to keep the healthy fun going all season long!