The big trick-or-treat fest is just days away, and the American Academy of Pediatrics wants to make sure your kids stay safe and healthy when they’re out cavorting with ghouls and such. We’ll assume you already know the no-brainer stuff – make sure they can see out of their masks and their superhero capes aren’t tripping length, don’t go into strangers’ homes, be careful crossing streets, blah blah. But here’s a Fab Five of, er, brainer safety tips:
1. Use a votive candle – or a glow stick – to light your jack o’lantern, and place it on a sturdy surface, away from flammable objects, including small trick-or-treaters whose too-long capes might float dangerously near. While you’re at it, clear a path for those little ghouls so they don’t trip over hoses, bikes and other detritus. Make sure there’s enough light for them to see their way, and put Fido in the backyard so he doesn’t frighten anyone. Or vice versa.
2. Light your child – have him carry a flashlight (with new batteries) or glow necklace, and make sure there’s some reflective striping on his black Grim Reaper suit so he’s not invisible to cars.
3. A parent or other, responsible adult should always accompany the little ones on their rounds. Older kids who venture out should carry a cell phone so they can call home, 911 or another emergency number. And so you can call them when they’re not home at the agreed upon time. (P.S. Agree upon a return time and a trick-or-treating route, and review those mundane road safety rules that concern crosswalks, cars and invisibility.)
4. Kids who go trick-or-treating with full bellies are less likely to eat junk. They may be anxious to hit the sidewalks, but a simple supper – a sandwich, glass of milk and an apple, for example – only takes a few minutes. Go through their trick-or-treat bags when they get home and confiscate all your favorites – er, we mean, check it over for anything that looks unwrapped or suspicious. Tampering is rare, but it’s best to be careful. And besides, no child needs all those Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, whereas Mom…
5. And try to ration treats for the days following Halloween. Yeah, your candy too.