This is a guest blog post written by Elizabeth Eckhart.
While our dentists may be the only ones who find this holiday truly mortifying, it’s worth mentioning that Halloween celebrations also require a little precaution – for kids and adults alike. With All Hollow’s Eve falling on a Saturday this year, it’s a good idea for everyone in the family to brush up on some basic safety tips. Giving a little extra thought to your festivities will let you enjoy the spooky thrills of Halloween without exposing yourself and your loved ones to unnecessary risk.
On Halloween night, kids will be eager to head out of the house and begin collecting all manner of tasty treats. It’s therefore of tantamount importance that they understand what to do in case of emergency. Children should only go out in large groups or accompanied by an adult, never alone. Dilapidated or poorly lit sections of town should be avoided. Alert your young ones to the dangers posed by strangers, unfamiliar locations and unknown houses. With your older ones, discuss the route they will be taking beforehand, and set a time by which they should be home. Always check candy to make sure it’s contained within factory-sealed packages; otherwise, it may be unsafe to consume.
Because children will be walking outside in low visibility, make sure that all costumes are bright and reflective – motorists on this night are to be paid extra attention. Reflective tape can be added to almost any attire to make it safer. It’s also important that all costumes be made of flame-retardant materials. Younger children shouldn’t wear masks because they can restrict airflow and impair visibility. Swords, knives, axes and other similar costume accessories ought to be soft and rounded – after all, what makes them fun is the fact that they can’t hurt anyone.
There’s another group of “little ones” who are sometimes ignored when discussing the hazards of Halloween: dogs, cats and other pets. These cute animals aren’t aware of the dangers posed by Halloween treats, which they’re only too pleased to gobble up with relish. Chocolate is especially toxic to animals, as are raisins, so make sure that all candy and snacks are placed far away from your pet. Plug-in decorations pose a hazard as many pets like to chew on the wires, which can cause electric shock or burns. All things considered, it’s probably best to leave your beloved creature in another room until the celebration is over unless your companion is especially well-trained and sociable.
Vandals, burglars, and other ne’er-do-wells come out in force during Halloween, so it’s important to protect your property. If you plan on taking off for the holiday, make sure your home is well lit and that one of your neighbors is notified of your absence. Video cameras, motion-sensing security systems and other basic surveillance equipment can make a difference, particularly if it can be accessed remotely from a smartphone. And because October is National Crime Prevention month, there are also numerous events across the nation (yes, McGruff the Crime Dog is still on duty) that can help further educate families on effective safety strategies.
While Halloween poses certain risks that aren’t present at other times of the year, there’s no reason to get too spooked beforehand. As long as you enact certain commonsense precautions, there’s no reason not to enjoy celebrating in costume with your little ones. Stay safe, and Happy Halloween!