Halloween Costume Safety: 5 Tips to Keep Your Child Safe

Here are the facts you need to know about Halloween costume safety.

Every year, at the end of October, our homes are invaded by ghosts, witches, monsters and more. Fortunately, there are also enough nuns, princesses, and superheroes to protect us from scary guys. Of course, I’m talking about Halloween.

Halloween is the one time of the year when kids can indulge their wildest fantasies and be rewarded for who they dream of being, but it’s still up to us to keep them safe.

Halloween safety begins with costume safety. We would not dream of sending our children to school, or to play outside, wearing clothes that could be dangerous for them. Halloween is the one day of the year where we let go of the rules a bit. It does not have to be this way.

Here are some valuable tips to help keep children safe:

The mask:

• Vision: The small eye holes in a Halloween mask can reduce your child’s peripheral vision. Crossing streets and driving on unfamiliar sidewalks in the dark becomes more dangerous than usual.

• Hearing: A full head mask can also reduce hearing.

• Choking: Most children eat on the run on Halloween. If they’re wearing a mask, it’s impossible to see if they’re choking on candy.

ADVICE: Using a pair of scissors, enlarge the holes for the eyes and cut holes around the ears and mouth. Consider face painting instead of a mask.

Custom:

• Light and bright: If possible, persuade your child to wear a light-colored costume. It makes it much easier to see at night.

ADVICE: If your child is determined to wear a dark costume, add reflective tape to the costume. It’s even a nice addition to light-colored costumes. You can find it at most bike shops.

• Fire resistance: If you are buying a costume, look for the “fire resistant” label. This does not mean that the costume is fire retardant, just that it does not catch fire, or support a flame, easily. Keep this in mind if you decide to create your own costume.

ADVICE: Test the material by passing a small piece over a candle or lighter.

• Tripping: Suits generally come in sizes small, medium, or large. Children come in all sizes. Costumes that are too big or trailing on the floor present a real tripping hazard.

ADVICE: Trim the hem of the costume with scissors or use safety pins to adjust the size to eliminate this hazard.

General security considerations:

• Safe Houses: Restrict trick-or-treating activities to neighborhoods you know are safe. Plan your child’s route in advance.

• Adult supervision: Go trick-or-treating with your child or form a group of block monitors to patrol the neighborhood. Keep a cell phone with you to use in an emergency. Have the cell numbers of other block monitors pre-programmed into your phone.

• Don’t eat until checked: Get your child to agree to this before trick-or-treating begins.

ADVICE: Give your child a small amount of his favorite snack or candy to take with him. This will reduce the temptation to eat unmarked sweets.

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