Dress-Up Smarts for a Safe and Fun Trick or Treat
Choose fire-retardant costumes. Look for a label that indicates flame-resistance on any costumes, wigs, and headpieces you purchase. If you’re making the costume yourself, examine the fabric content and ask the salesperson to help you choose the least flammable material.
Use make-up instead of masks. Hypoallergenic, non-toxic face paint is a better choice than a mask, which may obscure your child’s vision and hinder his breathing. If you do opt for a mask, cut oversized holes for his eyes and mouth, and encourage him to take the mask off each time he crosses the street.
Avoid oversized costumes and shoes that can trip her up. Choose comfortable shoes and make sure clothes don’t
Select light-colored costumes when possible. This makes it easier for drivers to spot trick-or-treaters. For costumes that have to be dark, accessorize with a white pillowcase your child can use to stash his loot and help him stand out in
Attach reflective tape to her costume to make her easier to spot. A few strips on her back, front, and goodie bag should do the trick. If she’s planning on biking or skateboarding, stick some tape on that as well.
Ensure his emergency information (name, number, and address) are somewhere on his clothes or on a bracelet if you’re not going to be with him.
Choose accessories that are smooth and flexible. Look for swords, knives, and other accessories that don’t look too realistic or have sharp ends or points.
Give her a flashlight, watch, and cell phone or coins to help her see where she’s going, know when to head home, or make a call if she’s in trouble. Make sure she knows her curfew and how to contact you.
Make sure children under 12 are supervised by an adult or teen chaperone if you can’t take her around yourself. Teens should have a curfew.
Round up a group. It’s best for kids of any age to travel in groups of three or more—there is safety in numbers. Plan a route with your child, making sure he knows to call you if he deviates from the plan. Keep his route to familiar streets and houses, working up the street then back down without criss-crossing. Set a time limit when he should come home
Remind him of police and fire safety. Practice the principle of “Stop-Drop-Roll,” just in case his clothes catch on fire. Encourage him to talk to a policeman or call you if anything makes him uncomfortable or upset.
Review pedestrian rules. It’s easy to overestimate your child’s ability to remember to cross at corners, wait for walk signals, and stay on the sidewalks. Between the evening’s excitement and the novelty of being out at night, reviewing traffic-safety is a good idea. Remind her to walk — not run — between houses.
Turn on the porch lights and replace burnt out bulbs.
Decorate the walkway or steps with lanterns instead of candles. Battery-powered light sources such as light sticks are just as decorative and not as dangerous.