Halloween: First With Kids - Vermont Children's Hospital, Fletcher Allen

The Trick of Making Halloween a Treat When It Comes to Your Child’s Safety

It seems like only last year that I shared, or should I say scared, some Halloween safety tips into parents. And while that can certainly be helpful, I thought this year I'd unmask a few safety tips directly with children so that their Halloween is far from frightening when it comes to staying safe. So kids, if you want more than a ghost of a chance of being safe on Halloween, listen up.

First, make sure you can see through your costumes and be seen. That means you should avoid masks or oversize hats if possible, because they can reduce your ability to see. Use nontoxic, hypoallergenic face paints instead.

Put reflective tape or a glow-in-the-dark necklace on your costumes so others can see you moving through the neighborhood at night. Avoid swords and other props that can get in your way, and make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes that fit.

If you are over the age of 10 and going out without your parents, take at least two friends with you. Work with your parents to plan your route in advance, including how long you will be out – especially if they are not going with you.

Carry a flashlight, a watch and a cell phone if possible, and walk, don't run. Make sure your costumes don't drag on the ground. Stay on the sidewalk and if there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.

Avoid going to homes of strangers and only approach houses that have the lights on. Never go into a stranger's car if they tell you to come in to get your candy. Be very cautious of strangers and strange pets and don't forget to say thanks when you do get a treat.

Speaking of treats, remember to eat a great dinner before going out to fill you up, so that you don't start eating your treats until you and your parents have had a chance to inspect everything and make sure it’s all safe to eat. Get rid of anything that looks unwrapped or tampered with. Remember: When in doubt, throw it out.

Finally, if you are concerned about how unhealthy it can be to eat all that candy in a day or two, consider selling it back to your parents in exchange for a special outing or activity you would love to do with them in the next few days. There’s a good chance your parents won’t eat the candy you gave them, but instead will decide how to give you back the candy a little at a time on special occasions over a period of weeks and even months.

Hopefully safety tips like this will prevent you from making any "boo-boos" and make Halloween a treat for you, your friends, and your family to enjoy. 

 

Lewis First, M.D., is chief of Pediatrics at Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. You can also catch "First with Kids" weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and WPTZ Channel 5, or visit the First with Kids video archives at www.FletcherAllen.org/firstwithkids.