By Kevin Elliott
Halloween safety begins with making sure your kids are dressed in well-fitting, flame-retardant costumes that don’t drag on the ground or get caught in bushes or on fence-posts. This means looking carefully at the design of a Halloween costume and the manufacturer’s labels before you buy it. The label you are looking for is “Flame-Resistant”, however be forewarned that this is not a guarantee that if the hem of a costume accidentally met with a lit jack-o-lantern on a pathway that it would not burst into flames. To minimize the risk of a costume catching on fair it is best to choose a heavy polyester costume and avoid costumes with baggy sleeves or filmy loose flowing skirts.
Costumes should also fit well and not be too tight or too baggy. Watch out for ties, ribbons or other design elements in the costume that can catch in gates or doors or strangle or constrict the child in anyway. Make sure that any wigs or fake beards worn by the child are also not flammable or so long that they can get in the way of the child’s movement.
Children should not wear high heels or shoes that are two tight or too floppy. Walking without tripping or falling is a priority and especially important if the child is planning to trick or treat for many hours. A very good idea is to outfit your children in runners with blinkers or light-reflecting tape on them so motorists easily see them at night.
Discourage your child from wearing a mask as this can obscure breathing and vision. There are many make-up and face painting kits that can be purchased to create a unique look to go with a child’s costume.
One current fad, which originated in Japan and that has to do with making your child or teen look like anime character is to wear oversized or patterned contact lenses. The intent of these contact lenses is to make the eyes look a lot larger than they actually are. There are also contact lenses available for commercial sale as well. You should never purchase these unless it is under the supervision of an eye-care professional as a dangerous eye infection that causes blindness can be the result.
When trick or treating encourage your child to obey all of the rules of the road. Discourage the kind of excitement that has children criss-crossing streets to go from house to house. You should also instruct children not to enter any house no matter how friendly the invitation or accept any unwrapped candies, baked goods or candies while trick or treating. That is because razor blades, needles and drugs have been known to be concealed in these items with sometimes fatal consequences. Make it a first priority to check through all of the candy in your children’s trick or treat bag to make sure it is safe before they are allowed to eat it.
To minimize the risk of accidents to trick-or-treaters it is also a good idea to turn on all of your porch lights and make sure that you have not lined your walkways with decorations or Jack-O-Lanterns that could cause a child to trip and fall. You might also want to make sure that any electric wires leading to lights are not crossing the sidewalk and that you keep pets, who might be frightened by the strange costumes and attack, inside the house.
From our family to yours have a safe and happy Halloween.