|Dozens of Ways to a Boo-ti-ful Halloween |
Children wait for this event with delighted anticipation each year. The perfect costume, the coolest accessories and the largest goody bag for all of their “loot.” Well, the favorite night of the year for your little ghost, witch, pirate, princess, or Spiderman is just days away. With a little pre-planning, parents can make Halloween a safe, fun, and downright deliciously frightful activity for everyone.
The Countdown to Halloween
There’s much for a parent to do. There are decorations to be made, costumes to be selected and/or designed and sewn, children’s excitement to contain until D-Day, and much to help them remember. Prevention is probably the most important thing to teach before Halloween. Teach them to be wary of strangers, to remember to obey all rules, to know how and who to contact in case of an emergency, and what to do in the event of an accident or fire. Wow! A pretty tall list, but diligent advance preparation can make a world of difference.
Before Costume Selection
- Teach children their full names, addresses, phone numbers and emergency numbers should they become separated from a parent or a group.
- Walk the neighborhood(s) and prepare a trick or treat route and write it down.
- Determine when the little tricksters turn into pumpkins – determine a curfew.
- Review all of the rules.
- Costumes should be bright, well-fitting, and short enough to prevent tripping.
- Accessories should not be sharp and should be made of cardboard and not hard plastic.
- Reflective tape should be added to increase visibility.
- Masks, wigs, eye accessories and hats that obstruct vision should be avoided.
- Use make-up specifically designed for costuming and make sure it’s hypoallergenic.
- Make sure costumes are flame retardant.
- Make sure contact information in pinned to the inside of costumes in case of an emergency.
At the Ranch
- Make sure properties are cleared of anything that may cause accidents.
- Extinguish any open flames or hot lights that can be accessed by visitors.
- Make sure yards are illuminated and safe for visitors.
- Prepare only “safe” treats for tricksters. Ask: “Would I let my child eat this?”
- Consider healthy treats or non-edible items as alternatives to candy and sweets.
The Ultimate Thrill Fest
- Provide each little trickster (no matter their age) with a freshly charged battery to illuminate their way.
- Make sure little ones are accompanied by adults.
- Older children should travel together.
- Tell children to never enter cars, homes or apartments for treats!
- Drivers should watch out for potentially darting youngsters, children crossing driveways and/alleys, and dark costumes.
- Tell children to stay away from all animals. Costumes may confuse and scare them too.
- Stay away from high traffic areas.
- Pay attention to all traffic rules.
- Determine a route in advance, tell an adult and stick to it for the evening.
- Be polite and have great manners on display.
- Stay in designated neighborhoods only.
- Only knock on doors with lit porch lights.
- NEVER consume any candy, unwrapped goodies, fruit, or drinks before it is inspected by a parent.
- Never run, walk from house to house.
- Don’t cross streets between cars – use crosswalks.
- Stay on sidewalks and if no sidewalks are present always walk facing oncoming traffic.
- Wear a watch and check frequently for curfew.
Before Their Witching Hour (Bedtime)
- Have children bring all candy home for careful inspection before consuming.
- Divide candy so that it can be consumed over time and not all at once.
- Make sure all makeup is properly removed before bed.
- Make sure candy is age appropriate (choking hazards for little ones.)
REMEMBER: If you’re not sure, go with your gut – When in doubt – throw it O-U-T!
If the door-to-door thing is not for you, you don’t have to rain on everyone’s parade. Come up with your own way to celebrate, or check out what everyone else is doing.
- Many malls offer trick or treating for safe indoor fun.
- Community centers and places of worship often host fun parties as Halloween trick or treat alternatives.
- Host your own Halloween party.
- Organize a Halloween block party with neighbors.
- Talk area businesses into sponsoring a “safe” event.
The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination.
Written by StorkNet Staff Writer Kim Green-Spangler