Five children standing on porch, wearing Halloween costumes, portrait

Dust off your pointiest witch’s hat and patch up that hole-filled zombie mask—Halloween has arrived at our doorsteps once again. It’s a fantastic time to get silly, get spooky, and spend just five minutes too long in the candy aisle deliberating between peanut butter cups and chocolate covered marshmallow ghosts.

There’s something magical to be found in the crisp air of fall and the crunch of leaves beneath your feet: Halloween is meant to be fun, and taking certain preventative measures will ensure it stays this way for you and your loved ones. With the help of Lewis First, MD, chief of Pediatrics at the UVM Children’s Hospital, read below for some tips to have a great Halloween night.

Lights, camera, candy!

Who says flashlights will cramp your costume style? Trick-or-treating generally doesn’t happen until the sun begins to set and the moon starts to glow. It’s important to make sure you and your loved ones are taking steps to maintain constant visibility—especially when crossing roads and dimly-lit driveways. Glow sticks, flashlights, headlamps, and reflective tape are a great way to make sure your ninja, fairy princess, and yourself are staying safe—and easy to see—on the streets and sidewalks.

Dr. First: “Make sure you can see through your costumes and be seen! That means avoid masks or oversized hats if possible which can reduce your ability to see.” 

You’ve heard it before…

From the time we first start trick-or-treating to now, we’re reminded about candy safety. It’s always important to keep a close eye on your children’s Halloween treats to make sure they haven’t been tampered with. Make sure to check for pinholes, tampered wrappers, and avoid non-commercially wrapped candy bars if they’re from an unfamiliar house before your child gobbles them down.

Dr. First: “Remember, when in doubt, throw it out.”

Sugar: Friend or foe?

We’ve all been caught in the frenzy of candy-consuming-mayhem. Unfortunately, just because it’s Halloween doesn’t necessarily grant you or your loved ones a free pass. While sugar intake certainly spikes on October 31, children are consuming significantly more sugar on a daily basis than the recommended intake, according to the American Heart Association. Luckily, there are simple measures you can take to make sure your child isn’t eating twice the amount of sugar on Halloween:

  1. Portion control. Once their plastic pumpkins or bedazzled pillow cases have been filled, have them dump out their stash and choose only a couple candies to consume while the rest is safely nestled in the back of your pantry.
  1. In the weeks that follow Halloween, allow them only pieces of the remaining candy —half a candy bar after dinner or perhaps a special treat for helping out with chores. Children often don’t have the best self-control when faced with a mountain of goodies; it helps to limit their intake by granting them small pieces of candy at a time.
  1. Create a bartering system. Children can trade back candies in exchange for special outings or activities. A system of earning, saving, and exchanging could be a great opportunity to teach them simple lessons on budgeting.

Dr. First: “An additional tip: eat a great dinner before going out to fill you up!”

With a few of these tips and tricks in mind, you’ll be well on your way to a night that’s spooky, fun, AND safe for you and your loved ones! Happy Halloween!

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