Did you know that the tradition of Trick-or-Treating began in the Middle Ages? The Celts believed that when fall turned to winter, demons and other malicious spirits from the Other-world and roam the Earth. Dressing up as frightening fiends was a defense mechanism by blending in with the evil spirits. Those in disguise would travel home to home asking for offerings on the spirits’ behalf.
Fast forward a few hundred years and while we are not faced with the same dangers of destruction by other worldly beings, Trick-or-Treating still presents numerous risks when it comes to your child wandering by night in costume to collect candies and treats.
We all know to check our children’s apples for razor blades and to make sure they are sporting something reflective, but there are many other safety issues you should consider on All Hallow’s Eve:
You may think that a simple costume cannot harm your child, but you’d be surprised how many accidents happen every year due to poor visibility, trip hazards (like long dresses and heels) and loose fitting costumes catching fire. Even sharp props like swords and staffs can cause injury if your child trips or loses their footing. Make sure your child’s costume is easy to see out of and properly fitted.
Dark Homes and Stranger Invitations
As much as we’d like to think we live in a safe world, and a safe neighborhood, it is hard to ignore the new stories we hear about adults who abuse and abduct children. Unfortunately, it does happen, and there’s no reason not to take certain safety precautions especially on Hallowe’en night. Avoid darkened homes (they’re probably not giving out candy anyways) and stress to your child how important it is that they do not enter the houses of strangers, especially if invited.
Obey the Rules of the Road
Although motorists should always be aware of pedestrian traffic on Hallowe’en, a little responsibility on the part of you and your child can go a long way to avoid accidents and injuries. Stay on the sidewalks and in well lit areas and try to cross at designated crosswalks.
Safety in Numbers
When your child reaches independent Trick-or-Treating age, never let them go alone. Always arrange for your child to accompany a group of friends and make sure they understand the importance of staying with others.
Plan a Route
Also, if your child is Trick-or-Treating sans parents, plan a route with them beforehand. Knowing where they are supposed to be can make the difference if they get separated from their friends or lost. Coordinate with trusted neighbors to provide a safe place for your child to go to if they do get lost. If all else fails, let your kid take a cell phone. By the time they are old enough to Trick-or-Treat with friends they probably own one anyway.
Being safe on Hallowe’en doesn’t have to involve tethering your child to your hip or placing them in a bubble. Taking a few simple precautions and forming safe habits can mean a fun and exciting night for your child that ends with a bag of candy instead of an injury.