Everyone loves Halloween! Kids love dressing up as their favorite characters from movies, books, TV shows, and their own imaginations. Adults and teens get in on the fun, too, and everyone can enjoy a little creativity and a lot of candy.
The Champion Firm wants to remind you that, unfortunately, Halloween can also be one of the most dangerous holidays of the year. According to Melissa Chan-Leiba, co-coordinator at Safe Kids Cobb County and Injury Prevention District Coordinator for Cobb and Douglas Public Health, “On average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a vehicle and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year.” That’s a pretty scary statistic. So, how can you make sure that your kids stay safe and still give them a fun and memorable Halloween?
We spoke to Officer Louis Defense, Public Information Officer for the Smyrna Police Department, and Chan-Leiba about some of the best tips to keep kids safe on Halloween.
Stay Safe this Halloween: Design Safety into Your Kids’ Costumes
As you buy and make costumes for your kids (and yourself), keep safety in mind. Instead of masks, opt for costume makeup to avoid vision obstructions. Remember, while you and your kids should be looking out for cars, you need to make sure that you’re visible to drivers, as well.
Whether you buy a pre-made costume or make one yourself, add some extra visibility with reflective strips. As you pick costumes out with your children, opt for colorful options instead of darker colors. If you do go with a dark costume, look for all the ways you can make it reflective. You can find clear reflective strips that won’t “ruin” the costume but will keep you and your kids safe.
Check all Candy for any Tampering
Of course, visibility isn’t the only safety concern for kids on Halloween. You also want to make sure that your kids don’t consume anything harmful in their Halloween treats.
Officer Defense made a good point that many parents and teens may have overlooked. “Of course, adults with small kids should always screen everything that their kids get from strangers,” he said, “That’s a pretty common thing you hear for younger kids, but it also applies to older kids and teenagers. Teens should check all their candy before consuming any of it, too, and anything with a compromised wrapper of any kind should be thrown away.”
Avoid home-made treats and anything that is not pre-packaged, especially if you do not know the person handing it out. While we like to think that most people have the best intentions, it never hurts to err on the side of caution.
Choose Age-Appropriate Halloween Activities
You’ll also want to make sure that your kids are participating in age-appropriate and safe activities. For example, “children 12 years and younger should not go out trick-or-treating alone” Chan-Leiba asserted. If you have young children, be sure that they have an adult with them at all times when going door to door for treats.
Officer Defense added to this sentiment, saying, “If you’re going out with your kids, make sure that you have control of them at all times. In all the pandemonium of Halloween night, it’s easy for kids to get distracted and accidentally wander out into traffic.”
If your kids are a bit older and ready to go out on their own, talk to them about the importance of staying aware while they’re going from door to door. Distractions, such as cell phones and other devices, can be deadly. And auto accidents aren’t the only thing to be aware of. “Older kids going out with friends should be aware, as well,” Officer Defense said. “The concept of ‘stranger danger’ is still a very good idea, especially if someone in a car tries to give you a ride or tries to force you and your friends into their car.”
Consider a Local Halloween Event Instead of Door-to-Door Trick-or-Treating
If you’re concerned about your children’s safety when trick-or-treating, you may also want to consider taking them to a local fall festival or trunk-or-treat event. These events take place away from roadways, and they’re usually far safer environments for your little ghouls and goblins to enjoy their costumes and indulge in some sugary treats.
For example, the Smyrna Police Department is hosting its annual kids Halloween parade and festival this Saturday, Oct. 27, at Smyrna City Hall. Registration for the parade is from 7:30-8:30 a.m., and the parade begins at 9:00 a.m. Kids and parents can enjoy a safe environment with delicious treats and fun prizes.
Drivers, Look Out for Trick-or-Treaters on Halloween
Finally, while we’re on the subject of safety and trick-or-treating, let’s remember to keep an eye out for little ones when you get behind the wheel, too. While we all know that Halloween night brings out many costumed kids, other activities and events are scheduled in the days before Halloween, too.
Be aware on the road, especially around dusk and after dark, that there may be more children out than there normally would in the evenings. Stay vigilant as you drive around your neighborhood and community and you can help keep everyone’s kids safe this Halloween.
We hope these tips help you and your kids enjoy a fun and safe Halloween this year!
Trick or Treat from The Champion Firm!