Pumpkins, parties and candy!
Halloween is certainly a treat for kids, but with safety issues hiding behind every corner, parents can find the holiday downright scary. You know to keep your children away from Jack-O’-Lanterns and any other lit candles (right? just checking), but you’ve also got to be smart on the street.
To keep you from going batty worrying about ghoulish tricks and spooky surprises, the Mommy-Go-Round talked with Dr. Stephen Sanches of The Pediatric Clinic about what parents can do to keep devilish deeds to a minimum and keep their tiny spirits trouble-free.
Check out the list of tricks to suit up and troll for treats safely and keep your little pumpkin safe on Halloween.
Sheathe the Saber
Swords, pitchforks and axes add some scare to Halloween costumes, but those props can sometimes be dangerous, especially for younger children.
“The swords and sticks that come with the costumes, they may be plastic, but they can still be quite sharp and can poke out an eye. Make sure if you have such a prop that the child is old enough to understand its correct use,” Sanches said.
Leave the plastic props at home and go with a softer, foam-like sword or accessory instead.
Superheroes are always a popular costume choice, but the caped crusaders’ masks can impair children’s vision. If the mask’s eyeholes aren’t big enough and block the child’s vision, parents should cut bigger openings, or better yet, opt for face paint instead.
“For the younger children, especially, I’d recommend that they avoid masks so that they don’t impair their eyesight,” Sanches said.
Is your little spirit hoping to dress up as a soldier or a dark-robed figure? Add some reflective tape or brighten up the wardrobe so he or she is more visible to others.
“Make sure the costume is bright enough or reflective enough so that the child can easily be seen and that it doesn’t camouflage the child, especially with the concern of kids running into the street or kids blending in to the crowd,” Sanches said. “You want to be able to identify your child in a crowd just by their costume.”
Candy is the No. 1 goal for little trick-or-treating ghouls, but Sanches said there are ways parents can curb the sugar cravings with a healthy, pre-festivities dinner.
“One thing I’ve always recommended is that parents make sure to feed their children a healthy dinner before they go trick or treating. It keeps their kids from being hungry while trick or treating and it also limits the kids’ indulgence in candy when they get back. For the most part, if they feel full, they won’t overindulge in candy,” Sanches said.
Everyone wants the scariest Jack-O’-Lantern on the block, but pumpkin carving can be a big enough fright for parents of small children. While carving kits with safety knives are popular, Sanches said even those can present dangers to children.
“Even the safety knives I tend to be wary of,” Sanches said. “If you don’t trust your kid to not play with a knife in any other situation, don’t trust them to play with a knife when carving a pumpkin.”
The solution? Team up. Have your child draw the Jack-O’-Latern outline with a pen and pull out the pumpkin seeds and let the parent handle the knife.
Or instead of pumpkin carving, decorate the gourd using child-safety finger paints to make a Jack-O’-Masterpiece.
Wipe Out the Web
Spiders use their webs to catch small insects for food, but fake spider webs can present dangers to your small bug as well. The web decorations are choking hazards for small children, who may become entangled in them or put them in their mouths and suffocate on them.
“Households with small children should probably avoid those types of decorations,” Sanches said.