Halloween season is with us once again! With most states already experiencing fall, it is no wonder that all porches have pumpkins or wreaths. With the coronavirus still with us, Halloween may not be what it used to be. Vaccinated or not, children are some of the biggest germ carriers and it is important to keep them safe during trick or treating.

Here are a few tips for how to keep your family safe through the decorating process, through the trick or treating and to ensure they come home safe at the end of the night.

When decorating;

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  • Use a firm ladder that is neither too high or too low. Keep the ladder on level ground at all times. Ensure your tools are fastened to a tool belt to prevent the movement up and down to get tools. Your shoes while using a ladder should be slip resistant. Ensure you climb off the ladder every time you have to move it.
  • Always inspect holiday lights before hanging them. Check for any frail or bare wires. Any old bulbs should be replaced with newer bulb. Keep all the wires and extension cords away from water or pipes. Remember to turn off all lights when you go to bed or when you leave the home. It is especially important to keep lights away from dry trees and shrubs as these could easily catch a fire. Ensure that all lights are store-inspected when purchasing them, do not make the assumption that new is always functional.
  • Avoid using real candles, instead, opt for the store-bought battery candles. Encourage children to always stay away from open flames. Keep dry flowers, leaves, cornstalks and even crepe paper away from heaters, bulbs and open flames.
  • All crafting and carving that involves the use of sharp knives should be left solely to adults. Children should instead focus on painting and decorating non-flammable ornaments.
  • If living in an area with many incidents of robbery during Halloween consider installing a safety removable fence for the day.
  • If running a haunted house, be sure to limit the number of people coming in and out of the house. Ensure there is adult supervision at all times.
  • Do not let children under the age of ten play with decorations unsupervised.

For candy:

  • Tell all the children to wait until they are home before they can sort, divide and eat the candy.
  • All children should be warned against accepting any candy that is not commercially wrapped or looks like it has the signs of tampering.
  • Before allowing children to eat candy, parents should be sure to remove any choking hazards such as peanuts and toys embedded in candy.
  • Create a way to divide up the portions so that they can be eaten for several days after Halloween and not all at once.
  • Divide the candy according to age keeping in mind that hard candies are not appropriate for kids of a certain age because of the risk of choking.

Throw away any candy that has any of the following features

  • Discoloration or unusual appearance
  • Holes and tears in the wrappers
  • Spoiled or unwrapped items
  • Consider discarding all home-made goods unless you are aware of the home that made them.
  • Trust your gut fully, if it does not feel right, simply throw it away.

For the costumes,

  • Always make your costumes from flame retardant material such as nylon or polyester. If buying, ensure you check that the material is unlikely to burn.
  • Ensure that all children’s costumes are light coloured. This allows them to be easily visible in the dark at all times. If the material is dark for one reason or the other, add reflective/glow in the dark tape to both the costume and the trick or treat bag.
  • When choosing costumes that require wearing of wigs and beards, ensure they fit the child’s head and do not cover their eyes, noses or mouth.
  • Consider allowing your child to wear a mask due to the Covid-19 virus. Make it breathable and ensure all children with asthma have their inhalers with them.
  • Keep all heels moderate to prevent falls.
  • Be sure to put a name tag with your phone number on each of the children for emergency contact.
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