Tips on Having a Safe and Fun Halloween

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“Trick or Treat. Smell my feet. Give me something good to eat Not to big. Not too small. Just the size of Montreal!”.

That was the chant I sang, every October 31st while I trick or treated throughout my neighbourhood. And yes, I’ve taught my kids the same song.

Halloween is a great family tradition. It’s also a community tradition (for those who turn on their porch lights). Like all traditions, there are tips to remember to make it the most fun possible…

CARVING THE PUMPKIN

Kids can help with the pumpkin prep by drawing a face on the pumpkin with pen or permanent marker. Stencils are also widely available for tracing.

Leave the actual carving to a grown-up (no one wants to spend Halloween in Emergency because of a knife injury!). However, it’s a kids’ job to stick their hands in the ooze and pull out the pumpkin seeds.

(Tip: consider using a flameless candle in lieu of a real candle in your jack o’ lantern)

COSTUMES

Dressing up like a favourite character, scary creature or Mommy in the morning (my favourite costume to date) allows kids to pretend they are someone (or something) else for an evening.

Though masks are cool – they inhibit vision and as such should be avoided. Be careful of material that hangs or droops – not only could they cause falls but they can also be fire hazards if worn too close to those jack o’ lantern candles.

Costumes should be well fitting (so as not to trip) and also warm enough for October evenings. Consider layering a turtle neck and jogging pants under thinner costumes should the weather in your area be chilly on Halloween.

High heeled princess shoes and pirate boots are fun to wear but make sure they are comfortable (and safe) for walking up and down stairs.

TRICK OR TREATING

Remind those excited kids that there is no crossing streets without a grown-up! Though drivers should be aware that kids are out and about on Halloween – you should still enforce the “Stop. Hold hands. Look both ways.” street crossing rule.

Visit houses in the neighbourhood that have their jack o’ lanterns lit or their porch lights on. In addition, it is also a good opportunity to discuss; waiting one’s turn, saying “Thank you” and using patience as they get the loot.

Parents should accompany small children straight to the doors when trick or treating. For older kids, parents can wait at the end of the drive. (Feel free to skip the scary houses).

Kids should carry a pillow case, a bucket or a bag for their treats.

(Tip: Parents carry an extra bag for kids to dump their treats into so they aren’t carrying a heavy load).

THE TREAT POST-MORTUM

Parents should have a look through candy and treats before kids jump into the pile. It is sad to say, but we live in a world where crazies put razor blades in Halloween treats. Discard any treats that appear previously opened or altered in any way.

Also, for families with nut allergies be on high alert for nutty treats. There may even be trace amounts of nut oils in the bag. For extreme cases, consider making your own “safe” bag of treats for the kids to enjoy (and in lieu of trick or treating – exposing your kids to nutty treats – enjoy a walk around the ‘hood, looking at the decorations and then back to your house to enjoy the safe treat bag).

(TIP: Decide on the number of treats your kids can enjoy on Halloween and stick to it. No one wants a sore tummy in the middle of the night because of a Halloween candy hang-over!)

Extras for Halloween How-to’s: carry a flashlight, put reflective bracelets on kids, visit only the houses you know, roast pumpkin seeds, have fun!

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