Creepy decorations and spooky costumes are as much a part of Halloween fun as Trick-or-Treating, but they can pose hidden dangers for kids. Dark costumes are hazardous at street crossings; restrictive outfits and poorly fitted masks make walking difficult; and illuminated, heavy or looping decorations can be unsafe, especially after dark.
In fact, you might be surprised to know that Halloween is, statistically speaking, a very dangerous holiday for kids. According to SafeKids.org, children are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween and the night also marks an increase in injuries from burns and falls.
But you don’t need to wrap kids in day-glow safety vests and nix the fun décor to ensure a safe Halloween. Here are some safer, kid-friendlier decorating and costuming tips to help keep fright night from becoming a real scare.
1. Make it Easy – and Fun – To be Seen
What kid doesn’t think glow-in-the-dark is cool? Use this to your advantage by embellishing costumes, especially darker ones, with reflective tape. Available at most auto parts and hardware stores, reflective tape comes in several colors and is even available in sheets – perfect for cutting shapes to complement costume themes. Add a few reflective strips on cuffs, hems or headgear to make kids more visible to motorists and much safer on their Halloween route. Can’t find reflective tape? Add some light-up necklaces to costumes and loop a few on wrists and ankles to make kids stand out when crossing the street.
2. Unmask Halloween with Face Paints
Opt for vision-friendly face paint or theater makeup in place of full-face masks. It’s an easy sell for girls, but boys usually can be won over by a few eyeliner-crafted cuts or scars, too. Used alone or paired with a partial mask, face paints are far safer than full-face masks which can restrict vision, breathing and speaking. To avoid an allergic reaction skip the Halloween store packs which use some strong chemicals, instead use regular or theater makeup. If little princesses or zombies still insist on wearing a full mask, check that it has adequate eye openings and is breathable and well fitted.
3. Costume for Comfort and Safety
Dress kids in temperature-appropriate costumes that allow free range of vision and motion. Try to avoid costumes with ground-dragging capes, trains or sleeves to help prevent accidental falls and burns. Remember that kids’ packaged costumes are often made of flame-retardant materials, but homemade costumes generally aren’t. Caution kids to stay clear of any lighted decorations on their route to avoid brushing against an open flame.
4. Decorate with the Littlest Ghouls in Mind
Make Halloween yard and doorway decorations safe and inviting to all. Secure electrical cords and strings out of reach and keep walkways clear and accessible. If creating a particularly spooky haunted yard, consider including a less scary approach for younger trick-or-treaters – unless, of course, you want a bunch of leftover candy.
5. Create Kid-Friendly Ghostly Glows
From multicolored LED lights to realistic wax candles, battery-powered lighting makes it easy to create ghostly Halloween glows without an open flame. Battery-operated tea lights work well for illuminating small Halloween accents and battery-powered wax candles add a realistic flicker to any spooky setting. Use them to light up Jack o’Lanterns safely too, or try a few glow sticks or color-changing lights for a spooky gleam.