I've had some epic Halloween costumes over the years: Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Princess Leia and a druid. I loved dressing up as a kid … with all the elaborate robes and make-up. These days, I'm more likely to stay home and hand out candy to neighbourhood kids. It's great how many kids still go out and "trick or treat".
With the sun going down earlier and lots of little ones on the streets at Halloween, we thought it would be worth reminding kids, parents, homeowners and drivers of some important safety tips!
Choosing your costume
Kids, Halloween is a great time to exercise your creativity! And if you want to go as Long Jane Tyranoella (a dinosaur pirate princess), you absolutely should! But just a few things to keep in mind as you put your costume together:
- Light-coloured costumes are easier to see in the dark. If you must go as a bat, put a few stripes of reflective tape on to make sure you're seen by drivers.
- Make sure your costume fits well. You don't want to trip over it while you're out with your friends. And if you buy a costume, make sure it's made of flame-retardant materials.
- Make-up is better than a mask - you'll be original and not risk your vision being restricted.
Staying safe on the street
Parents, make sure you talk with your kids about staying safe on Halloween:
- Discuss the route your kids want to take. Make sure they are able to stay on the sidewalk and not have to walk in the street. Remind them to cross the street only at crosswalks or corners.
- Identify Block Parents or other spots along the route (fire or police stations) where they could get help if they need it.
- Going in groups is good! Try to coordinate a group of at least four to five kids. Young children should be accompanied by a trusted adult (you, another parent or known babysitter).
- Remind them that they should only go to houses that have the porch light on. And that they should never go inside the house.
- Agree to a timeframe with your kids. Make sure they understand the importance of returning home or checking in within that timeframe. And make sure a watch is part of someone's costume. And a flashlight.
- Ensure your kids eat dinner before going trick-or-treating to ensure they have the energy to make it through lots of houses (more houses = more candy!)
- Let your kids know that they should bring home their treats to be checked first before they eat them. You can tell them that stopping to eat treats along the way is not only a safety issue, but it also reduces the amount of candy they can get by eating into valuable candy collecting time.
Create a safe trick or treating experience
Homeowners, if you're handing out treats to little ghosts and ghouls, take a minute to ensure that your property is safe for trick-or-treaters:
- Make sure your home and walkways are well lit. Avoid using real candles in your pumpkins; battery-powered tea lights are a safer option.
- Clear your walkways of snow, ice and other tripping obstacles.
- Keep your pets indoors and away from visiting trick-or-treaters. Halloween can be a particularly scary time for them.
- Consider participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project and offering non-food treats.
Safe driving on Halloween
Drivers, the promise of candy and the excitement of being out with their friends can make anyone forget their usual safety precautions. It's up to you to be on alert:
- Extra vigilance is essential on Halloween! Little witches and warlocks can dart from between parked cars, across the middle of the street or out of driveways. Be aware!
- Drive below the speed limit, especially in residential neighbourhoods.
- Make sure your head and taillights are in working order and turn them on early.
- Eliminate distractions in the car, especially cell phones!
All of us at PumpTalk wish you a safe and spooky Halloween! Now, off to make my Tyranoella costume! What are you dressing up as this Halloween? Let us know in the comments!
- Rose R.