Wendy Larson, contributing writer 



Autumn is here and the real fun begins as we enter into the holiday season! From decorating to making yummy treats, to lighting our favorite candles and watching all the movies … it is magical to create memories with our loved ones. It is also important to have a plan and be prepared for Halloween night to ensure everyone can focus on the fun, (no tricks, disasters, or trips to the emergency room) and enjoy the treats! While we all love a good scare, being prepared will help your family avoid any real dangers during the Halloween festivities.

While preparing your porch for trick-or-treaters, it is important to create a safe walking path for children to come to your door. Ensure your walkway is clear of any loose décor, props, or pumpkins that could cause tripping hazards. If your family carves pumpkins this year, it is best to purchase battery-operated lights to put inside your Jack-o-lanterns. Avoid candles and fire all together to ensure there are no accidents. Make sure your garage lights and porch lights are turned on so that all children will be able to easily see where they are walking and know your home is ready for trick-or-treaters. Lock your car doors and doors around your house, and keep your pets in a safe room or wing of your home to help keep them calm and away from children who may be afraid or allergic.

If your costumes do not have bright colors, add lights to your attire so your group can be easily seen in the dark. Use glow sticks, glow bracelets, and glow necklaces to help ensure visibility at night. You can also bring along flashlights with fresh batteries, battery operated string lights for your strollers and wagons, or purchase reflective strips to attach to any fabric or costumes. Any extra light will help keep your children visible from any oncoming traffic, as well as help members of the group to see one another and find each other in an emergency.

As you select your costumes, ensure fabric is flame resistant. It is important to watch out for candles and Jack-o-lanterns during the night, as there will be many flowy princess dresses and long superhero capes. Look for costumes made from polyester, nylon, wool, and acrylic fabrics, and make sure there won’t be loose fabric dragging behind a child. Glitter can be flammable, so exercise caution as you approach homes and walk past pumpkins.

Face paint is often safer than full face masks, which can impair your child’s vision and breathing. It is important to choose a nontoxic paint to prevent any rashes or reactions. Test a small patch of paint on your child’s skin to ensure they are not allergic to the product. Call your pediatrician if their skin breaks out in a rash or starts swelling.

It is important to create a plan with your children before you leave the house. Make sure every child knows their phone number and address in case a child is lost. Adding a name tag sticker with emergency information to your child’s costume could be helpful for toddlers and little ones who may not be able to remember.

Talk with your kids before you leave and make sure they turn down any invitation to enter someone’s home, as well as pass any house without lights on. Always use the crosswalk and avoid jaywalking. Never assume vehicles will stop for you!

As your family arrives home, have everyone wash their hands before handling the candy. Warn children not to eat anything that is not commercially wrapped. Parents should discard any candy that has an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes or tears in wrappers, and any homemade items from someone you do not know. It is important to check for any hard candy that could cause choking hazards for young children and toddlers.

Courtesy of Wendy Larson.