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Your Unofficial Guide to a Fun and Safe Halloween

Steve Wagner

Halloween Safety Hacks For Hoosier Families

The month of October can offer many fun things for Hoosier children and parents to participate in, including the longstanding tradition of trick-or-treating through the neighborhood. So with Halloween just a few weeks away, it’s time to begin preparing costumes and decorating porches. But it is also time to start sharing these safety messages with those you care about. Wagner Reese wants to offer a few tips to keep your children and community safe this season:

  • Bike riders and skateboarders should be seen. If your child is planning on biking or skateboarding the streets during trick-or-treat time, stick some reflective tape on them and remind them to watch for pedestrians and vehicles. Add a helmet to their costume!
  • Dress for the weather. Even if your children want to dress up in outfits with little fabric, make sure to dress them clothing appropriate for the weather.
  • Dress to be seen. When getting dressed for the evening, if you or your child are wearing a dark colored costume, make sure to attach something bright or have them carry a white pillowcase or bag to collect their goodies in, or add reflective tape to clothing, or carry flashlight. When walking around town, and likely crossing streets at night, visibility is incredibly important.
  • Make sure children under 12 are supervised. This means by an adult or teen chaperone if you can’t take your child around yourself. All children should have a curfew so set a time limit when he should come home or call you.
  • Plan a route. Let your child know to call you if he deviates from the plan. Keep his route to familiar streets and houses, working up the street then back down without crisscrossing.
  • Round up a group or use a buddy system. It’s best for kids of any age to travel in groups of three or more since there is proven safety in numbers. If your children are old enough to go out on their own, make sure they still know to stick with friends.
  • Teach your kids about safe pedestrian habits. These are things like to only use crosswalks, wait for signals, follow law-enforcement directions, and make sure to keep an eye out for motorists. Safe Kids USA reports children are more than twice as likely to be killed in a pedestrian accident on Halloween than at any other time during the year. Most Halloween accidents occur between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., prime trick-or-treating hours.
  • Teach your kids to respect public and private property. Make sure they know to not walk through peoples’ yards, cut through dark alleys, vandalize property, take anything that isn’t theirs, or put themselves at risk being on someone’s property who doesn’t welcome trick or treaters.
  • Tell them to visit well-lit, familiar houses. If there isn’t a porch light on, it isn’t a welcome place to be. Make them promise to stick to the stoop and never go inside.
  • Watch out for dogs. If there is a dog out in someone’s yard, it’s a better idea to skip that yard than to risk getting bitten. Even if the dog looks friendly.

When Costumes and Candy Turn Risky

For the best chances of a completely injury free October, check out these additional safety recommendations about Halloween costumes and candy from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Safety Council.

  • Check candy wrappers. Pinholes, tears, or unusually loose packages can indicate possible tampering. Don’t let your child eat any candy that isn’t sealed. Unless you know the source, throw away homemade or fresh food items.
  • Choose fire-retardant costumes. Look for a label that indicates flame-resistance on any costumes, wigs, and headpieces you purchase. If you’re making the costume yourself, examine the fabric content and talk the salesperson. Do your research to help you choose the least flammable material.
  • Select light-colored costumes when possible. This makes it easier for drivers to spot trick-or-treaters. For costumes that have to be dark, accessorize with white accents and reflective tape or lights to help them stand out at night.
  • Use make-up instead of masks. Hypoallergenic, non-toxic face paint is a better choice than a mask, which may obscure your child’s vision and hinder his breathing. If you do opt for a mask, cut oversized holes for his eyes and mouth, and encourage him to take the mask off each time he crosses the street or walks up and down a set of stairs.
  • Watch for recalled toys. Many small toys like fidget spinners and other popular fad toys have recently been recalled. Toss any broken or risky toys given as “treats” in the trash.

Keep Your Community Safe This October

Indiana residents and business owners who participate in community Halloween activities can help keep trick-or-treaters and others safe by following their own set of rules.

  • Remove tripping hazards on your porch, walkway, and driveway. Clear your lawn or business area of hoses, branches, bikes, wet leaves, garbage cans or wires that could trip trick-or-treaters.
  • Secure railings. Tighten up any railings or safety guards on your porch or walkway area.
  • Stay bright. Turn on the porch lights and replace burnt-out bulbs.
  • Watch and report. Look out for one another and other children. Watch for accidents and report them to appropriate authorities immediately.
  • Watch for fire hazards. Decorate the walkway or steps with lanterns that are battery-powered light sourced or use light sticks. If you plan to use a candle in the pumpkin, small votives are the safest bet. Stash the lit pumpkin on a sturdy surface away from anything flammable, and never leave fire unattended.

What other tips would you offer to those venturing out this Halloween to prevent injuries to children? Leave us a comment and tell us what you think the important things are to remember this year!

Wagner Reese wants to help keep you safe and prevent personal injuries or product liability injuries this month. Give us a call if you have any questions, or if you need advice on a Halloween related injury. We are here to help your family at (888) 204-8440.

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