Halloween is beyond exciting for kids—they get to stay up late, dress up and gorge on candy. They’re hyper, distracted and determined to make the most of the day (and night!), so parents need to make sure they stay visible, follow the rules of the road and don’t eat anything strange from their loot bag. Here are my quick tips to keep this spooky holiday from becoming a scary one.
1. Pick the right size
Make sure that costumes fit properly. Hems should be well above the ground to avoid tripping, and kids should have full range of motion.
2. Keep it bright
Dark colours are obviously harder to see at night, so dress your kids up in bright costumes or add reflective accessories to dark getups. Tip: This year, families can visit their local Nissan dealership to pick up Glow Guards, reflective adhesive stickers available for free until October 31st.
3. Break out the makeup
Since masks can obstruct vision, create the same idea with face paint. But…
4. Test it out first
Before the big day, try the face paint to make sure your child doesn’t have a skin reaction. And of course be sure to wash it all off before tucking them into bed.
5. Choose non-flammable fabrics
5 Halloween hacks Jack-o’-lanterns often have real candles inside, so opt for costumes with 100-percent synthetic fabrics like nylon, polyester and acrylic and avoid loose capes and glittery fabric, which tends to be more flammable. And to cut the risk, light up your own pumpkin with a battery-powered tea light or LED “candle.”
6. Get your glow on
Light your kids up with glow sticks, bike lights clipped onto costumes and reflective tape. And give them a flashlight, or carry one with you.
7. Take the tiny trick-or-treaters
Little kids should always have an adult with them.
8. Go as a group
Older kids should travel together, stick to a route they’ve cleared with their parents, check in by phone regularly, and have a set curfew to return home.
9. Choose wisely
Don’t feel you have to hit every home on the block. Look for well-lit locations with pumpkins on display.
10. Stay on the step
Kids should never enter strangers’s homes.
11. Follow the rules of the road
Set a good example and only cross the street at established crosswalks. If you are driving in residential areas, take it slow.
12. Ask for help
Look for police officers or the Rogers Pumpkin Patrol if you require assistance or have any concerns to report.
13. Check it all out
Before you let your kids dive in, dump the entire candy bag out and inspect it all. Throw out any packages that look like they’ve been opened and any homemade or repackaged goods.
14. Be alert for allergens
If you’ve got a child with serious allergies or food sensitivities, read any unfamiliar labels before handing over the candy.
15. Brush up
Don’t skip the teeth-brushing routine! Sticky candies are cavities waiting to happen.
Joelene Huber is a paediatrician and assistant professor of paediatrics at the University of Toronto and is affiliated with St. Michael’s Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children, specializing in development and autism spectrum disorders. She appears regularly on TV and is a mom to two small children. Follow her on Twitter at @DrJoeleneHuber.