Follow these Tips for a Safe and Happy Halloween
As the leaves begin to fall, and the days get shorter, children and adults alike look forward to Halloween. Some families go all out by dressing in spooky costumes and ghoulish get-ups (although clown costumes might be frowned up on this year). Others simply celebrate the centuries-old harvest season. Either way, these fall celebrations are a fun time to get together and indulge in activities such as carving jack-o-lanterns or bobbing for apples. And, of course, the season would not be complete without an abundance of yummy goodies.
At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, we know how much people look forward to this time of year. At the same time, our Charleston, West Virginia personal injury attorneys and our legal staff are all fathers and mothers.
We care about the safety of our own children as well as all children within our community.
While Halloween trick-or-treating and scary movies can be a lot of fun, some genuinely frightening dangers exist. Parents should know about them.
While even the youngest trick-or-treater may know that Halloween means lots of goodies, they may not know the safety rules to follow while they are out canvassing door to door in search of sweets. It is up to parents to inform children of these safety rules for trick-or-treating.
To help ensure a safe and fun-filled experience for all our friends and neighbors, we have consulted with a number of experts to compile the following T-R-I-C-K O-O-R T-R-E-A-T approach to the holiday:
Talk with your children about Halloween safety.
While you may not want to scare them, parents need to make sure their children are aware of simple rules that will ensure their safety.
Remember costume safety.
Safety at Halloween often begins with your child's costume. When choosing a Halloween costume, choose one that is flame retardant. Make sure the costume is not big enough to trip over. Avoid props that are too big or those that could injure another child such as hard plastic swords or knives.
In case your child gets lost, be prepared.
Pin a name tag with your address and phone number to an inconspicuous place on your child's costume. This will help your child to get home safely if the worst situation occurs, and your child becomes lost.
Cross streets with caution.
Use crosswalks when possible. Tell your children: Look right, then left, then right again before crossing. According to the Children's National Health System, children are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween as at any other time of year. We suggest that you trick-or-treat down one side of a street, and the cross and trick-or-treat up the other side. This reduces the number of street crossings.
Keep your eye on your little ones.
Parents should accompany small children themselves rather than pushing the responsibility onto older siblings. An older brother or sister may be trustworthy and responsible but can also become easily distracted. If you are concerned about walking long distances, keep in mind that many areas have Halloween activities in shopping malls that are especially suited to young trick-or-treaters.
Only enter a home with a trusted adult.
Children should be instructed to go to only well-lit houses. Remind them that stranger-danger rules still apply on Halloween.
Require your children to go through a makeup test.
Using makeup to put on masks is a great idea. A makeup mask can be safer than one you might buy. It can allow your child to see without obstructions. However, do a patch test before applying any costume makeup. See if your child experiences any allergic reactions before you apply any more.
Trick-or-treat only in neighborhoods you know and trust.
Take your children trick-or-treating in places where you know the neighborhood and trust the people living there.
Resist the urge.
Remind your children to resist the urge to eat their treats before you have had a chance to examine them at home. As a rule, discard any perishable items you may receive such as apples or popcorn.
Establish an estimated time of arrival.
Make clear what time older children are to be home, and set times throughout the evening when they are to check in.
Always check your child's candy bag thoroughly.
Throw away anything that is unwrapped, damaged or in any way suspicious. Most children end up with 50 to 100 pieces of candy as the result of trick-or-treating, according to one source. Encourage your child to practice portion control with Halloween candy. Set limits on the amount of goodies your child consumes each day.
Take lots of photos!
Children grow so fast. One day, they will have fun looking at photos of their Halloween costumes from previous years.
Safe Alternatives to Trick-or-Treating
Are you looking for a fun alternative to Halloween trick-or-treating? Many local churches have trunk-or-treat events (where children go from car trunk to car trunk filled with goodies in a safe parking lot) and harvest parties where children can still dress up and join in on the fun.
If you are in the Charleston, West Virginia area, check out this list of local events, or check the events page in your local newspaper.
Another alternative is to host your own Halloween or harvest party. You can pick your own theme for costumes. Instead of overloading your young guests with sugary sweets, you can opt for healthier options.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following tips for a healthy harvest party:
- Get creative and provide healthy treats and low-calorie snacks, such as fruit slices, veggies and dip, and string cheese.
- Use party games that involve physical activities, such as relay races.
- Make sure walkways and stairs are well lit and free of obstacles.
- Remind guests to be cautious of trick-or-treaters that are out and about in your neighborhood.
Contact Our Charleston, West Virginia Attorneys if You Need Help
At the Charleston law firm of Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, we care about the health and well-being of the families in our community. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident or as the result of another's reckless or negligent conduct, contact our experienced West Virginia personal injury attorneys today.