OSU Extension offers Halloween safety tips
Thursday, October 7, 2021
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When children dress up as their favorite superhero, princess or goblin, they likely have one thing on their mind: trick-or-treating and filling their candy container to the brim.
But parents know there’s more to celebrating the holiday than choosing a costume and ringing neighborhood doorbells. Taking precautions ensures Halloween is both fun and safe, said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Extension housing and consumer specialist and interim associate dean.
“The costume is the main attraction at Halloween. Whether children choose to be a ghost, a superhero or another favorite character, making sure the costume is safe is essential,” Peek said.
Costume safety tips include:
- Select costumes, wigs and accessories that are flame resistant. This doesn’t mean the costume won’t catch fire; rather it indicates the material will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
- Choose costumes that are brightly colored and reflective to help make children more visible to motorists. Parents can add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
- Make sure costumes fit properly to avoid tripping.
- Accessories such as swords, brooms, canes or other objects shouldn’t be sharp or unwieldy.
- Consider face paint instead of a mask that can obscure vision and restrict breathing.
Before parents or older siblings take children to trick-or-treat, talk to them about safety rules, said Laura Hubbs-Tait, OSU Extension parenting specialist.
“It’s important children understand that while Halloween is fun and exciting, it’s also a time to be especially cautious,” Hubbs-Tait said. “Children are often in a hurry when they’re excited to get from one house to another, so it’s vital to instill the importance of safety rules, especially as it begins to get dark.”
Other general safety tips include:
- Only visit homes of people you know.
- Cross streets at intersections.
- Emphasize walking only — no running allowed.
- Stay on sidewalks. If there are none in the neighborhood, walk close to the curb facing traffic.
- Carry a flashlight.
- Discuss safe and acceptable walking routes with pre-teens who wish to trick-or-treat on their own.
- Never go inside a home or vehicle to get candy.
- Wait until parents can inspect all candy before consuming any of it.
“We discuss all the safety rules for children who are trick-or-treating, but there also are guidelines parents need to keep in mind for themselves,” Hubbs-Tait said. “The most common type of accident on Halloween is pedestrian injury.”
Tips for parents:
- When driving through a neighborhood, be on heightened alert for children to unexpectedly run out into the road.
- Drive slower than normal through neighborhoods.
- For those who decorate their lawns for the holiday, make sure the decorations don’t pose a tripping hazard for trick-or-treaters.
- For those who stay home to hand out candy, be sure the porch and lawn area are well lit.
“Halloween is such a fun time for children and parents. Following these tips will help ensure everyone stays safe,” said Hubbs-Tait.