Trick-or-treating is the perfect way to make magical memories with your children on Halloween. But it's not all fun and games—you also want to keep your kids safe.
Trick-or-treating usually starts at dusk on Halloween, which falls on a Wednesday this year, but you should check with your neighbors to make sure since it varies from community to community.
Mom Kim Estes makes it her mission to help parents keep their kids out of harm's way all year round. Estes, a certified child safety educator and sexual abuse prevention specialist, founded Savvy Parents, Safe Kids to teach parents strategies for how to be prepared and protect their children as much as possible.
Estes said parents should make sure that costumes are safe from hazards this Halloween by making a few easy modifications.
"I am a huge fan of reflective tape and glow-in-the-dark spray paint," she said. "Both can be purchased on sites like Amazon.com. Use the tape on the costume and use the spray paint in the street to say ‘SLOW!’ or ‘BEWARE: TRICK-OR-TREATERS.’”
Estes said that when trick-or-treating, kids should only approach well-lit homes and should not enter any house unless accompanied by an adult that they know. They should also figure out their route ahead of time and stick to it and use the buddy system. Young children should always be accompanied by an adult, she added.
“Remind kids to be alert for vehicles, stay on the sidewalk whenever possible and look both ways before crossing,” Estes said. Older kids and teenagers should also head out with a buddy and be smart about safety, she said.
Halloween decorations can become fire hazards if used without care, Estes warned.
“Use battery-operated 'candles' in pumpkins on Halloween night. Children are not paying attention and crowd together at the front door and costumes can easily be brushed up against open flames,” she said.
Once you have a hazard-free costume put together and have reviewed safety rules with your children, it’s time to have some Halloween fun!
Don't forget to photos of your costumes to enter in Patch's Halloween contest! Deadline to enter is Nov. 1.
- Enter to Win Patch’s Best Halloween Costume in America Contest
TELL US: Where will you be taking your children trick-or-treating? Do you have any safety tips that apply to your community? Share in the comments below.