You want Halloween night to be full of trick or treating and silly costumes, not worrying about safety issues. Plan ahead and follow these safety tips now so you can relax and focus on perfecting that huge fake wart.
Your Home and Yard
During the day, walk around your property to make sure that you eliminate anything that would cause a child to trip or fall. Remove garden hoses, flower pots, low tree branches, support wires for flowers or vegetables, ladders, as well as dog leashes. Make sure that there aren't any pots or other items cluttering porch steps.
When decorating your home for Halloween, use lights that have been approved and are certified to be safe. On the eve of Halloween, don't leave lit candles unattended and look for a battery operated Jack-O-Lantern or use a flashlight propped up instead of a candle. Use extreme caution if you decide to use candles since a good wind could cause the flame to ignite paper decorations or leaves.
Pets become very frightened on Halloween so make sure that you consider them before the trick or treating begins. Keep them safe either indoors or locked away from the action.
Make sure that light bulbs work and keep the light on at the main trick-or-treating door. Make sure that the area is well lit.
Whether you buy or sew the kids costumes make sure that they are bright and can be seen by drivers. Use reflective tape on the costume and loot bag. Each child needs to carry a flashlight that has fresh batteries. Purchase these in advance.
Costumes should not be any longer than the child's ankles and their shoes should fit properly. If you are buying a costume, wigs or other accessories, make sure that they are labeled 'flame resistant'. If you are sewing a costume use fabrics like nylons or polyesters that don't catch on fire as easily as other fabrics.
Halloween can be chilly so make sure costumes are loose enough to fit over warm clothing but not so baggy they cause tripping. Talk with your child about the "Stop-Drop-Roll" principle in case their clothes catch on fire. Consider wearing non-toxic make-up instead of a mask that often blocks side vision.
Safe Trick or Treating
Rules and plans need to be established before the kids leave home. If they are under the age of nine years, they need to be supervised by an adult when trick or treating. Once over the age of nine they should continue to trick or treat with an adult or in a group of older responsible kids. They need to cross the streets only at corners or crosswalks looking both ways, walk not run from house to house, stay on sidewalks or at the side of the road facing traffic.
Plan and review with your kids the route they are allowed to go. Children should stay in the areas that they know, never go into anyone's home and only go to the homes that have outside lights turned on. Make sure that they never get into a car. They need to know how to call home or 911 if necessary before they begin trick or treating. You also have to agree on a time that they must return home and make sure that they stick to the rules.
Tell your kids not to eat or drink any goodies until you get a chance to examine them. Throw out anything that is not wrapped, has a torn package or where the wrapper has a small hole in it.
Once you have checked and discussed each of the above with your kids all you have left to do is enjoy the evening. Happy Halloween!