Every October, children and adults alike feel the spooky excitement in the air as Halloween approaches. Schools, homes and offices put out pumpkins, ghosts, witches, skeletons and more. We dress in costumes, eat candy, carve pumpkins and maybe attend a fall festival or two. Follow these tips to make sure the only frightening part this Halloween season is the neighbor’s decorations!
Candy is one of the best parts of Halloween! If you opt for traditional trick-or-treating, make sure your child knows you must inspect all candy before they eat it for safety reasons. Never eat anything homemade or not individually wrapped.
Talk to your children beforehand about any types of candy they are not allowed to have. This may include candies that are choking hazards, contain certain ingredients or dyes or any other reason you deem important. Children with allergies should be well-versed in the candies that are off-limits.
Many parents decide what their candy limit is for their children beforehand. Whether it’s a free for all or a few pieces per day, set expectations with your children about how much candy they are allowed to eat and when.
Picking the perfect costume is the annual debate! Some schools allow children to wear costumes to school. If this is the case, ensure the costume is appropriate for school and not too scary or revealing.
For trick-or-treating and other community activities, ensure the costume fits appropriately. Kids tend to get excited and run from house to house so you don’t want them tripping and ruining the night. Costumes with heels or unusual shoes look great for photo opportunities but can be limiting during the fun.
For costumes with makeup, buy non-toxic options and do your best to keep it off clothing!
COVID has thrown a new spin on holiday celebrations. This year’s Delta variant has been shown to be a highly transmissible virus and is infecting children more often than earlier strains. Use your best judgment when planning Halloween activities to ensure a healthy holiday. Unvaccinated children are at greater risk so you may opt for smaller, outdoor celebrations. If wearing a costume with a mask, ensure it provides the same level of protection as masks worn daily. Celebrations like the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Trunk or Treat Drive Through offer a contactless option to score candy delivered by a team in full PPE protective gear. All the fun, none of the worry!
Many neighborhoods have a police presence on Halloween night to ensure the safety of trick-or-treaters and their families so opting for a neighborhood where police will be present can be an added safety element. This can help deter criminals as well as provide immediate intervention in the case of an emergency. Visit a neighborhood that both the parents and children know well. The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office also recommends doing a review of the sex offender website to identify the location of nearby child predators. This public information is available online at http://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/Search.jsp.
According to the Gainesville Police Department, vehicles are one of the most dangerous parts of Halloween. Since children are running around in the dark, cars may not see them and drivers may be distracted. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, children are twice as likely to be hit and killed by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year. Have children stop and look both ways before crossing streets or driveways and discuss the dangers of vehicles beforehand.
Put glow sticks in children’s candy bucket or add glow bracelets/ necklaces to their costumes for added safety.