Most horror movies and haunted attractions would have us believe that monsters, wraiths, vampires, spooks and the like can kill. Halloween doesn't have to be that way.
Rod Brouhard, About.com’s Guide to First Aid and a licensed paramedic, says safety during the traditional night time celebration need not stress parents.
"Remember, it's visibility, visibility, visibility!" Brouhard says. "If Junior insists on being Darth Vader, then he should have the biggest, brightest light saber the Force can provide."
Here are Brouhard's other suggestions:
- No more than five kids per adult on the trick-or-treat trail. If you are walking door-to-door with a group of kids, staying safe may depend on staying together. In emergency services, we like to keep each person in charge of no more than 5 others. That’s a good rule of thumb for chaperones. In fact, it may be a better idea to keep it down to three or four sugared-up kids to each adult.
- Watch the footwear and the flowing robes or capes. Kids with oversized clown shoes, billowing fabric around their legs, or mom's high heels can have a difficult time navigating curbs and crosswalks. If mom gets blisters from those spiked favorites, so will junior.
- Use glue and makeup instead of masks. Masks aren’t any better than slipping your head into a grocery bag with holes cut in it. Kids with such decreased visibility can’t see the SUV barreling down on the sidewalk. If she wants to be a werewolf, then take a clue from Hollywood and break out the makeup.
- Don’t throw away the rule book. All the same rules apply for crossing the street (stay to corners and crosswalks) and going with strangers as any other day of the year. Make formal introductions to all chaperones at the beginning of the evening and forbid kids from going with anyone else.
Halloween expert Lindsay Lehfeld of American Medical ID uses the phrase "WITCH"" to remind fun lovers about Halloween safety:
- Watch Out for Props: Make sure that if little villains are carrying props, such as a scythe, magic wand or a pitchfork, that the tips are smooth and flexible enough to not cause injury if fallen on or if they are used to poke other children. The National Safety Council recommends props made of rubber or cardboard for maximum safety.
- Improve Mask Visibility: Visibility is the most important of the Spidey Senses, so make sure childrens masks has eye holes large enough for adequate peripheral vision. The Green Goblin could appear at any moment!
- Treat Kids to a Spooky Dinner: Brew up a haunting good meal prior to trick-or-treating. Having a full stomach will make children less likely to eat the candy they collect before a parent has a chance to check the loot, according to Halloween-Safety.com. Try Severed Finger Dippers (carrots and dressing) or Slimy Worms and Brains (spaghetti and meatballs).
- Create Safe Costumes: Proper zombies wouldn’t be caught dead without bright, reflective and fire-resistant attire. Make sure that shoes fit well, garments and accessories have reflective tape on them, and costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame. Check with the local fire department for more Halloween fire safety tips.
- Howl in Case of Emergency: When trick-or-treating with ghosts and goblins who have food allergies or live with diabetes, make sure they wear a medical ID bracelet, which is the first line of defense in an emergency. American Medical ID offers a variety of medical IDs in popular styles and colors for kids of all ages. Some 600,000 children suffer from peanut allergies and another 177,000 live with diabetes in the U.S.