October 31st is one of the most popular days of fall for over 70% of American families. Halloween celebrations include carving pumpkins, hayrides, donning fun costumes, trick-or-treating, eating way too much candy, telling spooky stories and more. But as much fun as the day brings, it is important to remember that criminals love to take advantage of people distracted by holiday festivities. Ensure your family is protected from the criminal element during Halloween by following the eight essential safety tips below:
1. Costume Tips
To most people, it is not Halloween without costumes. Whether store-bought or homemade, consider these four Halloween safety tips for kids’ and parents’ costumes:
- Choose more reflective clothing: since the festivities occur at night, ensure you and your kids costumes have some sort of reflective element, like glow sticks or reflective tape for maximum visibility.
- Makeup masks instead of plastic or fabric: Halloween accessories like masks can be dangerous as they can obscure vision, especially at night. Instead, switch physical masks for costume makeup for improved comfort, breathability, and vision.
- Make sure the costume is flame resistant: Purchase flame-resistant costumes or, if making the costume, use flame-resistant materials such as polyester or nylon. This safety precaution will come in handy should you bump into a candle, errant party sparkler, or the torch of your neighbor’s Lady Liberty costume.
2. Eye See You!
Contact lenses are a popular Halloween accessory because they help enhance or add a sense of realism to some costumes. Still, the FDA and eyecare professionals warn against using decorative or novelty lenses without a doctor’s prescription.
Because novelty lenses are not regulated, some of them can cause eye disorders or permanent vision loss if worn without a doctor’s prescription or the proper follow-up care. Although they can make your tiger costume really pop with tiger lenses, it is best to stay away from any non-prescribed, novelty or costume lenses sold online.
3. Keeping it Sweet
Children receive many types of candy and treats from all over the neighborhood on Halloween. While it’s extremely uncommon for Halloween treats to be tampered with, the DEA has warned parents this year to be on the lookout for “rainbow fentanyl” a highly toxic drug that looks like candy. In addition to being aware of any public warnings about tampered candy, be sure to follow these steps to prevent your loved ones from consuming corrupted treats:
- Inspect the candy for signs of possible tampering, torn wrappers, candy that is misshapen or discolored, wrappers that look wet or greasy, etc…
- Remove any unwrapped, or hand-wrapped treats (if you do not know or trust the source).
- If your child has a food allergy, check each label of any candy you are not already familiar with for troublesome ingredients or “made in a factory with” verbiage.
- Remove any choking hazards like hard candy and nuts if your child is below five years of age
- Warn your child against consuming other children’s sweets unless they have been checked by a parent or guardian.
4. Candy Quests Done Right
There’s always a lot of more people out at night on Halloween. Teach your younger children the following best practices for maximum protection:
- Don’t get distracted by your electronic device, keep it tucked away unless needed for a light or to reach a parent.
- Make sure you stick to sidewalks or the side of the road during your travels and watch out for cars backing out when walking past driveways.
- Older kids should avoid going in a group with fewer than three people, and younger kids should have a parent or adult with them at all times.
- Stay in familiar, well-lit areas, avoid dark streets or shortcuts, even if you know the neighborhood.
5. Knowing Your Neighbors
Most people trick-or-treat in their own neighborhood, unless it is in a less populated or rural area, and then they usually drive to a nearby neighborhood they are also familiar with. However, fewer people know their immediate neighbors nowadays, let alone the people who live down the street or in nearby neighborhoods. Take the following proactive measures to ensure your family’s safety on their nighttime march for treats:
- Look up annual crime rates and the number of registered sex offenders living in any unfamiliar neighborhood or area you plan to visit.
- Don’t rely on rumors or intuition when it comes to your family’s safety, if you have a neighbor who acts suspicious, or you see questionable activity at nearby home, be sure to complete a reverse address search on a reliable search platform like PeopleFinders to make sure your decision to trick-or-treat in that area is based on current and accurate public data.
6 . Being Safe on Home Turf
It’s easy to get lost in the excitement of Halloween and forget safety at home before heading out to a costume party or trick-or-treating. It is also critical to ensure your home is secure for those who stay to pass out treats, as well as visiting trick-or-treaters:
- Keep the front lawn lit – lights are essential for security, and your porch and front lawn should be well lit to deter criminal activity (or even local teen pumpkin smashing…). If you have a long driveway or walkway, be sure to use small solar lights to illuminate the path from your driveway to your door.
- Remove any chords around the house exterior as well as any potential tripping hazards like hoses, kids toys, shovels, etc.
- Sweep, salt, or shovel any ice and snow on your driveway and porch to prevent slipping or falling accidents, especially if there are steps involved.
- Restrain hyper or eager pets – keep your pets away from the front door to avoid frightening anyone with an aversion to animals, especially if you have a large dog or pet that is prone to jumping.
Making Safety a Priority All Year
Halloween is a popular tradition, especially among families with children, but as with all public activities it pays to be proactive in regard to safety and security. By following all of the safety tips above you can make Halloween a fun and stress-free holiday for yourself, your loved ones, and your fellow trick-or-treaters. Visit our website for more ways to make sure you and your loved ones stay safe, both online and in real life, the whole year through.