The jack o’lanterns are carved, spooky lights are strung and your little monsters have their costumes all ready. But before all the trick-or-treating fun begins, we talked to some local experts for some family-friendly advice to creep (err, keep) it safe this Halloween, from allergy prevention to neighborhood safety. After all, your only worries on Wednesday night should be those monsters and ghosts!
Plan Your Route
Map out your trick-or-treating route and walk the neighborhood with the kids during daylight hours ahead of the big day. This will help Mom scope out where the crosswalks and stop lights are ahead of time, and offers the perfect chance to stress the importance of road safety to your kids.
“We know that children are very excited [on Halloween] but they should not be allowed to run ahead of the group or cross the street by themselves,” shares Park Cities Pediatrics’ Matthew Simon, MD.
Doing a walk-through of your trick-or-treat route will also help you nix homes with obnoxious decor that might trigger a child’s sensory sensitivities. Be sure to look out for potholes, uneven sidewalks and gravel that might not be clearly visible at night.
Craft Your Candy Crew
Halloween is an ideal night to enforce the buddy system, according to Cinthia Ibarra, Injury Prevention Coordinator at Children’s Health. She recommends that trick-or-treat groups are kept to an adequate adult-to-child ratio so parents don’t lose track of their little monsters.
“Establish basic rules before going out on Halloween night,” Ibarra recommends. It’s easy for kids to get excited to run from house to house on Halloween, but be sure to stress to your ghouls and goblins that it’s important that they stick with Mom and Dad throughout the night—and that it’s not okay to stray from the group.
Avoid Allergic Reactions
Unfortunately, some candies are more tricks than treats—especially as allergic reactions are all too common among kids. If your little one has dietary or allergy sensitivities, or shouldn’t partake in the candy-eating festivities for other medical reasons, consider talking to your neighbors about the Teal Pumpkin Project. The initiative encourages people to place teal pumpkins in their front porch to indicate that they have non-food treats available. (Teal is the color of food allergy awareness).
Simon encourages parents to stock non-candy options for their kids to enjoy. “Many parents of children with allergies find that it is best to have a candy exchange after trick or treating,” he shares. “Parents can purchase candy or toys that are acceptable for their child’s allergy and exchange any candy the child has collected for the safe candy.”
In addition to crafting a clear trick-or-treat route, make sure your kids don’t get lost among the countless witches, ghosts, mummies and more who are roaming your neighborhood. If possible, dress your kids in costumes that are colorful, bright and unique. “Wearing reflective clothing or carrying flashlights or light up toys can be helpful—consider a candy bucket that lights up,” Simon suggests. Another tip is to coordinate with neighbors to hand out glow sticks during the night.
Of course, costume comfort is also key. Your kids should have no discomfort while wearing their Halloween garb, and their vision should not be obstructed by elaborate masks. “Make sure the eye holes in their masks are wide enough,” Ibarra advises. “Or, better yet, paint their face using kid-friendly, glow-in-the dark face paint.”