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Having a spooky but safe Halloween this year

By Carly Brake, Canadian Red Cross volunteer

In case you didn’t know, Halloween is a big deal, especially when you are four years old.

My son is at that age where you have more costume ideas than time. Or resources. Or your parent’s money.
While I navigate negotiating costume expectations vs reality; my wife and I also have to ensure we have a Halloween outing that is fun; (hopefully) memorable; and safe.
When it comes to safety and Halloween, some things are obvious but we often miss other aspects as we stockpile our candy in September.

Carly and her wife and son dressed up for Halloween

Speaking of candy, one of our biggest safety tips, is the one most of us parents remember. Candy should always be sealed. That is, unless the treat is homemade chocolate chip cookies by the next door neighbour you’ve known for over 10 years. The cookies that the neighbour has already promised to make for your son. Those cookies you might as well take. The rest, however, should be in sealed wrappers. Sealed wrappers help to ensure the food is safe and also that if your child has any food allergies, you can sort out those items before they enjoy their goodies. 
Other pieces we tend to forget and overlook include making sure children’s vision is not obscured by masks or head pieces. And costumes should be short enough so no one trips. Something this Maman neglected last year. My goal of making a costume my son could reuse for a few years also meant his leg movement was hampered. It’s not pretty when Chewbacca can’t walk properly.
Additionally, make sure they are visible when out at dusk and night. Use reflective tape or glow in the dark bracelets. A flashlight is a great tool for extra visibility. With all the rush and excitement, it is all too easy for the risk of them being hit by a car. Extra visibility is paramount on a dark night when ghosts and goblins are out. Also, only visit houses that have porch lights on. You want to see who’s at the door just in case. In our case, our son is nervous around dogs, so it’s always good for us to be able to easily see if we need to help him navigate an enthusiastic puppy. Plus let’s face it, if the lights are out, those people probably don’t want visitors.
For the time being, our kidlet will be Trick or Treating with us. However, as he gets older, he will want to go by himself. And he can, but only in groups; sticking to one side of the street at a time; crossing the street carefully; and sticking to boundaries we will agree to ahead of time.

Want a fuller list of tips for keeping safe this Halloween? Check out the Red Cross's page on this topic here!
Now, if anyone can tell me how to make my son into the perfect hybrid of Darth Vader-Lightning MacQueen-The Incredible Hulk-Pumpkin-Soccer Player; I’d appreciate some tips!

Happy Halloween.
Related Stories:
Tips for a safe and spooky Halloween
10 things your child needs to know for Halloween
How to survive Halloween, Red Cross style
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