Halloween is an exciting time for children (and some adults), with the prospects of going out at night, dressing up and collecting enough sweets to last until the Christmas selection boxes come out. But as always, with excited children comes concerned parents-no matter how old they get.
Whether your children are just starting to go trick or treating or if they are off to their first house party, there are always things you can do to help keep them safe; here are some ideas.
- Most Halloween costumes are dark colours- like witches and cats- try to suggest more colorful costume ideas for your children to wear especially if they are out at night. Dressing up as things like a pumpkin or Little Red Riding Hood will increase your child’s visibility. If they have their heart set on their Batman costume it’s not to worry, there are some tricks you can use to help brighten up a dark costume. Give your child glow sticks to wear or a light up trick-or-treating bag to make them more visible without “ruining” their costumes. It’s also a good idea to substitute any masks for face paint as masks can effect a child’s ability to see which could lead to an accident.
2. If your child is going out without a parent or guardian present make sure you set rules and guidelines for them. Plan what time they will be coming back home and plan a couple of times across the evening for them to give you a call and let you know that they are safe. Not only does this put your mind at rest it also means that they have boundaries and guidelines to stick by while still being able to feel independent by going out without a parent.
3. One of the most worrying times for a parent is when their older child first starts going to late night parties. You drop them off at the house of their friend who you haven’t heard of before and tell them to “be safe” praying they won’t engage in drinking and drugs. Halloween is a prime time of house parties but it doesn’t mean your kids won’t be safe. Arrange pick up and drop of times with them, make sure their costume isn’t offensive or provocative. Making sure that they feel like you trust them is the best way for them to feel in control of the situation and make good choices.
4. A huge craze over the past few months has been “killer clowns”. This is something it’s worth warning your children about. Halloween is a time when everyone is dressed up in costumes, so make sure your children are aware that if they see anyone dressed as a clown to be wary that they may not be your every day trick-or-treater. Tell your children to walk in the opposite direction to anyone that seems suspicious and to use their mobile phone to call a parent or guardian. It’s also a good idea to tell your child how far they are allowed to go from home. You can even keep track of where your children are with apps such as “FamilySignal” which uses location services to track where each member of your family is and has a panic button in the event of an emergency.
5. Practice. For a lot of children and adults, if we find ourselves in a situation that worries us we don’t know how we are going to react. The best thing to do is to have a plan of action for any situations that could occur. One of the biggest risks at Halloween is fire- with pumpkins lit on every doorway and highly flammable costumes it’s vital to have a plan. Practicing the “stop drop and roll” with your children is a good way to prepare them for an emergency- and there are even fun videos you can use to help.