Halloween can be a fun time, but it also has an element of scariness about it for both kids and their parents. Here are ten tips to make sure your child enjoys this holiday and keeps safe at the same time.
1. Make sure people can see your child.
Whether they carry a flashlight, chemical glow stick, wear reflective clothing, or add reflective tape to their wheelchair. Try and make your child as visible as possible. Unfortunately a lot of costumes are black or dark colors. Make sure your child can be seen in the dark.
2. Make sure your child can see.
Many costumes have hoods, masks or big hats that can impair the ability for a child to see. Sacrifice a cool costume for the safety of being able to see obstacles, steps and where to put their feet.
3. Test the Route.
Walk your “trick or treating” route with your children in the daylight before Halloween so they are familiar with the path. Make sure they stay on the sidewalks and cross only at the corners. It’s very tempting for them to take short cuts over lawns and through vacant areas, but there can be hidden obstacles they cannot easily see.
4. Don’t trip.
Make sure your children have good shoes to navigate through the night. Also check for trailing clothes and capes that might trip them as they trick or treat.
5. Young children and children with special needs should be accompanied by an adult or an older child.
Use your judgment with older children, but make sure they know the boundaries of where you want them to trick or treat. Set periodic check-in times and a curfew. It may be a good idea to make sure one child in the group carries a cell phone if parents are not with them or to pre-determine the group of children they will accompany.
6. Test drive the outfit.
Some children with disabilities have sensory issues. It is best to test whether they are comfortable with their costume before Halloween (maybe even in the store before you purchase it). It may be an easy fix, such as removing a tag, cutting off netting or avoiding hoods.
7. Test drive the experience — be prepared and be polite.
Use this opportunity to remind your children to use their best manners. For some children it might be a good idea of have them test their Halloween etiquette beforehand. Have them practice ringing your doorbell and saying, “Happy Halloween, Trick or Treat,” and taking one candy if offered and then saying, “Thank you.”
8. Too cool or too hot.
Costumes vary and October can experience a wide range of temperatures. Make sure you have a plan to add layers if it is really cold and that your child’s costume is appropriate for various weather conditions.
9. Flame retardant.
With all those jack-of-lanterns out there it is important to make sure your child’s costume is flame retardant. Also talk to your children about possible hazards, such as open flames.
10. Have fun not fright.
Try and prepare your child for the experience of hearing scary noises and seeing scary houses or other children in scary costumes. Halloween has become a home-decorating phenomenon and a lot of people are hanging goblins, hiding skeletons and otherwise turning their homes into haunted houses. Walking the neighborhood the night before with a parent and making a game of seeing which house is the spookiest might prepare your child to have a better experience on the actual night of Halloween