By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation
From dressing up like pirates and princesses to ghosts and goblins, Halloween is a fun and exciting time for many children. Each year, children look forward to parties, haunted houses & hayrides, and of course adventuring through the neighborhood, door-to-door in search of candy. Trick or treat dates and times may be different in each town, but one thing that should remain constant is making safety a priority! Here are some safety tips to ensure your child continues to have good memories and enjoy Halloween for years to come.
- Young children should never go trick or treating alone! They should always be accompanied by a parent or a responsible and trusted adult.
- For older children, they should always go trick or treating in groups and stick together at all times. If your child would happen to get lost, encourage them to stay in well-lit areas and go to a familiar residence they know is safe to ask for help (of if they have a cell phone use it to call home). Planning a trick or treating route in advance is perfect for knowing where your child is expected to be at all times.
- Walk, don’t run from house to house! Be sure to use sidewalks whenever possible and look both ways before crossing the street.
- Follow the trick or treating guidelines set forth by your community and keep track of the time. Many residents in the community will be expecting children to be out trick or treating between a designated time period and will be looking out for their safety during that time. After the time has lapsed and in dark conditions, there is a greater chance for incidents and accidents to occur.
- Children should wear reflectors or reflective tape on their costumes & treat bags, as well as carry a flashlight or a glow stick. This will help make them more visible to others and vehicles on the road.
- Encourage your children to hold off eating any of their candy & treats until they are properly inspected by you. Never eat anything that is not completely sealed or is unwrapped. Children should also avoid eating homemade treats from anyone they do not know.
- Children should never go into the home or car of stranger. This may seem appealing to a child in adverse weather conditions where they may be cold or wet due to rain; therefore, it is important to remind them not to do so, even if you think they know better.
- Children should stay close to home and trick or treat in neighborhoods they are familiar with.
- Sometimes the biggest safety concern can be the costume itself. Make sure costumes are flame resistant and not too long to avoid tripping. Accessories like toy swords & knives should be soft and flexible. Make sure masks don’t impair vision and shoes are comfortable and safe for walking.
- Halloween does not necessarily have to be unhealthy! Walking during trick or treating is a great form of exercise. Also, you can pledge to give healthier snacks or non-food items to help children that may have food allergies. Painting a pumpkin teal and setting in on your front porch, alerts parents that your home is safe for a child with food allergies.
These Halloween safety tips are examples of what children learn when they attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, which are held each year throughout North America. Learn more about the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program at www.progressiveag.org