Trick or Treating Basics: 15 Tried-and-True Tips for Parents
It’s Halloween time! Every year, as Halloween approaches, our kids get incredibly excited as they look forward to a costume-wearing, adventure-filled evening of trick-or-treating and hunting for the best-decorated houses that give out the best candy.
As parents it can be a magical time, but it's also important to discuss about treat-or-treat safety with the kids. Where do you begin when discussing your Halloween safety checklist?
Halloween safety for toddlers begins with the costume. Dressing up and pretending to be someone else is a central part of everyone’s childhood. Costumes help to bring that imagination to the surface and come alive. On Halloween, when everyone is dressed up, this is more evident than ever. That is why costume safety is important. Read on to discover costume safety tips that will help keep your child safe this Halloween.
Ensure Your Child's Costume is Safe
Well-made costumes should fit properly to avoid unnecessary dangers such as tripping on loose clothing or getting tangled in the fabric. As parents, we always check for anything that could be dangerous, such as hard pieces of metal or sharp edges and that the kids can move freely in each costume.
- Be sure to avoid candles or any flames that could catch on the fabric of their costumes, which should be checked to ensure that they are flame-resistant if possible. Our kids are also always prepared with strong, sturdy shoes to help with walking at dusk in unfamiliar territory.
- Swords, wands, staffs, and other accessories were always fashioned out of flexible materials for added safety. As a parent, you know that sword fights, spell casting and staff battles will be part of your evening.
Wear a Proper Mask
- Masks are an integral part of the Halloween experience. One important Halloween safety tip for adults is to double-check local requirements and by-laws around masks as some places do not allow for full face coverings or masks.
- When looking to buy a mask, be sure to consider not only the price but its functionality as well. One of the Halloween safety rules in our house is that masks need to be sufficiently soft or breathable to be approved for the evening.
- Be sure to use non-toxic face paint on your kids because there are easy-to-buy and inexpensive face paints that have been found to use toxic ingredients.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
- According to FitBit data, on average, trick-or-treaters walk 1.25 miles while searching for the best candy. That is why comfortable shoes are an essential part of the Halloween costume.
- High heels, though stylish, can be quite dangerous. Considering the time of day most people are trick or treating (as it gets dark), the uneven terrain that you are traversing and the overall utility of high heels, it is best that you opt out for a better-fitting, sturdier pair of shoes (even if they don’t necessarily fit with your costume).
- There is never a time of year when you will see more hats, scarves, and decorative dangly-bits than on Halloween. Be sure to tie down hats and loose materials to avoid them getting in your kid’s eyes.
As parents who have been down the proverbial road when it comes to trick or treating, we have come up with a trick-or-treating basics, a Halloweening 101 list that will satisfy Halloween safety for parents and provide the best experience for the kids.
Plan Your Route in Advance
- Know your roads! It can be tempting to take the kids to the newest and hottest neighborhood where the decorations are the most elaborate and the candy is rumored to be the best. If you are going to do this, make sure you are aware of any of the local rules and regulations, as well as have a map of the area handy.
- If possible, check the streets and neighborhood beforehand to get an idea of where you will be going. This will make the entire experience smoother, allowing for less stress on the parents and more fun for the kids!
Go With a Small Group
- There is always more fun in numbers! With a little planning, it is easy to gather a group of friends and family and hit the street not as an individual or a small family, but as a group of masked monsters and superheroes, ready to take on the world! Trick-or-treating with a group can increase the laughs and excitement as well as the level of safety for everyone involved, which is always a bonus for parents on Halloween.
- As dusk approaches and light begins to fade, being visible is extremely important. In fact, of all the Halloween safety rules, this may be one of the most important. Be visible! Glow sticks, glow-in-the-dark clothing and glow-in-the-dark Halloween buckets are all wonderful ways of remaining visible as daylight fails.
- Luminaid makes great products (like solar lanterns for Halloween) for this exact purpose, and they add a new level of excitement and adventure to your trick-or-treating escapades. Glow-in-the-dark lanterns, with the help of their sticker sheets, can be an exciting pre-Halloween craft that will get your kids primed for the evening.
- Cali’s Books has also created a glow-in-the-dark Halloween-themed nursery rhymes book, perfect for the fall season and especially for Halloween night!
Follow the Rules of the Road
Road safety is paramount, and no set of Halloween safety rules would be complete without going over how to safely trick-or-treat and be aware of the road. What are the most important points of road safety?
- If you are driving, drive slower than normal in all residential areas and be vigilant for kids on the street and for those coming out onto the road.
- Always have your headlights on while driving.
- If you are walking, be visible with flashlights, glowsticks, headlights and glow-in-the-dark lanterns.
- Walk on the sidewalk as much as possible and if necessary, on the left side of the road.
- Only cross the street at crosswalks, corners and designated areas and never cross between parked vehicles.
Never Enter a Stranger's Home!
Entering a stranger’s home is never allowed. This needs to be shared with kids and reinforced so that they understand the importance of it. Be clear about the need for this rule to be followed and how this is non-negotiable. As parents, it is your responsibility to communicate the necessity of this Halloween safety rule and how kids need to be clear about what they are allowed to do when trick-or-treating on their own.
Beware of Animal Bites
Another part of your Halloween safety checklist should be explaining how to stay safely away from potentially dangerous animals. How can you do this as a parent?
- Discuss with your kids what animals could potentially harm them (dogs, cats, goats, etc.).
- Remind them to give these animals distance if they see them while they are out trick-or-treating.
- If they want to pet an animal, they must get permission from their parents or the responsible adults with them.
Safely Receive Candy
All kids love candy and Halloween is like hitting the jackpot of treats! However, knowing what candy is acceptable and what is not can be difficult for kids. That is why inspecting the candy before it is eaten is an important Halloween safety procedure. How can kids and parents do this?
Inspect the Treats You Receive
Inspection time is critical for safe Halloweening! This can be made into a fun procedure, with lots of flair and pomp as the parents make decisions about what is good and what is not and since most (if not all) candy will pass the parent test, kids will often find the candy and treats that are rejected of no consequence. This also provides parents with a great opportunity to collect their “parent tax” and sample a few of the goods themselves! What does inspection time look like?
- If your kids are too young, they must always wait till it is inspected by a parent before it is eaten.
- Look for discoloration on the packaging or the items.
- Items with tears or loose wrappings should be discarded.
- Homemade items and open packages should also be discarded unless the person who gave them is known to the family.
- When in doubt, throw it out!
Careful with Food Allergies
Food allergies are an increasing concern and a good Halloween safety tip for adults, as well as for children, is to inspect the ingredients of items before consuming them, particularly if there are food allergies involved. For some parents we know that children with allergies are not allowed to open any packages or treats before they are inspected for allergens.
Halloween Safety: The Best Way to Make the Most of Halloween!
When planning and discussing Halloween with your kids, remind them of the amazing opportunities they have to enjoy this wonderful event. Explain to them that there are Halloween safety rules for toddlers to follow and as parents, that you as well follow rules to make sure everyone is safe.
Costume safety, proper footwear, group trick-or-treating and high night time visibility are all key parts of a safe and successful Halloween adventure. Safety rules such as not entering a person’s home, being aware of animals to avoid bites and candy inspections are also critical for fun and prosperous Halloween escapades for years to come.
Remember that these safety rules shouldn’t overshadow the entire point of Halloween. Have fun and enjoy your time as a family and by following these safety tips, you can be sure that every Halloween will be as safe and exciting as the year before. Have a blast out there!
Hi! I'm Cali, Founder of Cali's Books
“I’ve loved books since childhood and wanted to transmit this enthusiasm to my children”
I'm a mom of two young children who trained as an engineer and worked in investment banking and at Disney. A French of Caribbean origin (Martinique to be precise!), I grew up in Paris. Los Angeles is now the place I call home!
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