Dark clothing and bulky masks can add hazards to trick-or-treating. And while some smart tips can make for safer costumes, a safe Halloween begins inside your home—before you head out with the kids. Here are some ways to help diminish frights on All Hallows’ Eve.
Make Your House Safer
Be Wary of Candles.
There’s an increased risk of home fires in the days surrounding Halloween. One culprit? Decorations—especially when placed too close to an open flame or heat source. Use something other than a real flame inside your jack-o’-lantern. (See other pumpkin-carving tips) Also, avoid using extra-dry autumn décor, such as hay bales or corn husks.
Watch the Stove.
A major cause of Halloween fires is cooking, according to FEMA, so be mindful of what’s happening on your stove while you’re busy greeting trick-or-treaters at your door.
Prep the Porch.
Do a spot-check of your porch or entry area before the evening begins, recommends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Make sure exterior light bulbs are working, keep your pets away from the door (to protect the pets as well as visitors), and remove any possible trip hazards (like hoses or decorations) in the trick-or-treaters’ path.
Make Halloween Costumes Safer
Here are a few ways you can improve the safety of your kid’s costume, according to the National Safety Council (NSC):
- Make it visible. Purchase or make a costume that’s brightly colored. Add reflective tape to it, as well as to trick-or-treat bags.
- Check the materials. Make sure the costume is flame-resistant.
- Be smart with masks. A bulky mask can limit peripheral vision and make it harder for kids to see what’s around them. If you’re going to use a mask, ensure it has large openings for eyes, nose and mouth.
- Use makeup. This is a good alternative to masks. Do a trial run of the makeup on a small patch of skin to test for any irritation.
- Watch for tripping hazards. Long capes, animal tails, mummy bandages or other dangling features can create a tripping risk.
- Use only soft accessories. Things like swords, knives and wands should be made of cardboard or be otherwise flexible, to help avoid injuries or accidents.
- Give them a flashlight. And have them use it.
Looking to save money by making your kids’ costumes? Scroll down to the bottom of this page for great DIY Halloween Costumes, brought to you by Nifty!
Remind Kids To Cross Roads Safely
“Pedestrian safety is especially important on Halloween,” says Maureen Vogel, a spokesperson for the NSC. “October is one of the deadliest months of the year for road safety.” In fact, kids are more than twice as likely to be hit and killed by an automobile on Halloween than on any other day of the year, according to the NSC. Child pedestrian deaths sometimes occur when kids run out into the road, she says, so remind them to be especially careful amid the excitement. And if they’re carrying a cell phone, urge them to keep their eyes off the screen while in motion; looking down puts them at an increased risk for an accident involving distracted walking.
Be Extra-Cautious When Driving
If you’re taking the kids by car for trick-or-treating—or even if you’re just out and about—slow down in residential areas, advises the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and don’t let your phone distract you. Remember that kids could be wearing dark costumes and might pop out from behind parked cars or trees. To boost both your vision and visibility, start using your headlights by dusk, and keep your windshield clean.
Prep Older Kids To Go Without You
Kids 12 or older may go without an adult, suggests the NSC, as long as they stay with a group of friends, stick to a set route that you agree on, and stop only at houses that have lights on.
Check The Candy Haul
While rumors of widespread Halloween candy poisoning may be the stuff of urban legend, the CDC still recommends checking kids’ treats once they’re home, to be sure that all of the goodies are prepackaged and completely intact.
Halloween or not, there will always be things that go bump in the night. Help protect your home with homeowners insurance through the GEICO Insurance Agency. Get a quote now!
Read more: America’s Creepiest Places To Visit
By Katrina Brown Hunt
DIY Kids’ Halloween Costumes
Brought to you by Nifty
- Glue pillow fluff to bike helmet
- Make raindrops out of felt
- Glue drops to yarn
- Glue yarn to helmet
- Spray paint for texture (optional)
- Inflate balloons with pump
- Tie balloons to a long piece of string
- Cut out leaves from felt
- Make the stem by:
- Roll two pieces of felt together and glue the edge
- Cut corners of a square piece of felt for the base
- Cut into felt around the circumference to make spiral
- Glue stem to base
- Glue leaf to stem
- Grab a shirt that matches the colors of the balloons
- Attach leaves
- Attach balloons after putting on the top
- Grab a clear umbrella
- Attach battery powered LED lights
- Decorate! You can use things like ribbons, fake flowers, crepe paper, and beads
- Make felt eyes and mouth
- Glue eyes and mouth to the umbrella