Halloween: What safety precautions should parents consider?Feature of the week
Our feelings towards Halloween change wildly from one stage of our lives to the next. Whether you were enthralled or terrified as a toddler, your teenage years were probably a bit wilder. Then, trick or treat, suddenly you have children of your own, and are hit with the monumental sugar crash that is parental anxiety. Halloween once again becomes an unfamiliar and terrifying prospect.
The pressure to stop your child from dissolving in candy overnight, without resorting to handing out carrot sticks and raisins, is enough to make anyone lose their head. This year, let’s unmask the real risks, and stock up on advice to prevent parents from becoming their own worst nightmare and help children enjoy Halloween.
Trick or treating: the earlier the better
Going out trick or treating while it’s still light is a win-win situation. Not only is your child able to show off their costume and get first dibs on sweets, but you are free from all the anxieties which come with thinking of your child wandering around in the dark. If you have young children then you, or a trusted adult, should be accompanying them on their route regardless when they set off.
There are loads of other benefits to setting off while it is still light outside. Apart from being more visible, fancy dress costumes are also significantly less likely to come into contact with open flames. After that awful incident with Claudia Winkleman’s daughter and a highly flammable witch costume, both parents and clothing stores are on high alert.
As if that isn’t reason enough for completing your candy circuit early in the evening, you are also increasing the safety and security of your entire family home. Halloween marks the beginning of longer, darker evenings; as the clocks go back, levels of domestic burglary and crime across the country increase.
Police and security services encourage property owners to use the spooky season as a prompt to revise their security, so that they are protected throughout the darker winter months. It therefore stands to reason that the less time you leave your house unoccupied in the dark, the smaller your chances are of being targeted by criminals.
Don’t, for heaven’s sake, stay inside all through the festivities. Home security experts Bridger Security have outlined extra security precautions for homeowners to start implementing during Halloween. So even if you are out shepherding children or at late night events, you can rest assured that you’ve got all family security bases covered.
Host your own Halloween party
If you aren’t confident that your child will be safe when they leave the house, rather than putting them on candy-dispensing duty, why not host an event at home?
No matter what age group you’re hosting for, this is always going to be a daunting task. However, the benefits of safety and peace of mind are usually well worth the hours of pumpkin carving and spiderweb festooning.
How you host your Halloween party is entirely up to you – and your guests. From fancy dress contests and apple bobbing, to a slightly more hands off approach for adolescent guests, the goal always remains the same: to create a safe environment for playing, celebrating and socialising.
This does of course mean taking on responsibility for other people’s children, a consideration which, while it should not put you off, must be taken seriously. Make sure to communicate all the event details to the parents so that you know everyone is comfortable with the arrangements. Remember too that you will have to be on high alert all night, factors like dvd age ratings, legal drinking ages are hugely important, as are food allergies and collection times.
It is your responsibility to make sure that everyone is collected by a parent or known responsible adult, and that no one walks home alone. Exchanging contact details with parents is advisable for younger children, but is likely to cause humiliation for more independent adolescents who will be able to contact their parents themselves.
Above all, don’t lose sight of the fact that Halloween is a great excuse to eat chocolate, paint faces and give your home an Addams Family-esque makeover. But they say fear keeps us safe, so what better time to start thinking about your family’s safety than Halloween?
The editorial unit