It seems like only last year that I shared, or should I say scared, some Halloween safety tips into parents.
Let me unmask a few safety suggestions directly with children so that their Halloween is far from frightening. 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 costume and be seen. Avoid masks or oversize hats if possible. They can reduce your ability to see. Use face paints instead. Put reflective tape or a glow-in-the-dark necklace on your costume. That way, others can see you moving through the neighborhood at night. Avoid swords and other props that can get in your way. Make sure you are wearing shoes that fit and are not too big. Otherwise, you could trip and fall while walking around the neighborhood.
- If you are over the age of 10 and going out without your parents, take at least two friends 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. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic so you can be seen by motorists traveling at night.
- Work with your parents to plan your route in advance and how long you will be out, especially if they are not going with you. Approach only houses that are lit. Be very cautious of strangers and strange pets. Never go inside a house of someone you don’t know. Don’t forget to say thanks when you do get a treat.
- Remember to eat a great dinner before going out. This way, you’ll fill up and you won’t start eating your treats until you and your parents make sure everything is safe to eat. Get rid of anything that looks unwrapped or tampered with. When in doubt, throw it out.
- Finally, eating all that candy in a short period of time is not healthy for you. Try “selling it” back to your parents in exchange for a special activity you would love to do with them. Then your parents can give you back the candy over a longer period of time, such as on special occasions.
Hopefully safety tips and tricks like these will make Halloween a treat for you, your friends, and your family to enjoy.
Lewis First, MD, is chief of Pediatrics at The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. You can also catch “First with Kids” weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and MyNBC 5, or visit the “First with Kids” video archives at www.UVMHealth.org/MedCenterFirstWithKids.