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What you need to know to make Halloween safe and fun for your kids
Halloween is one of the oldest observances in the world today, with origins dating back 2,000 years to an ancient Celtic ritual that marked the end of harvest and the beginning of winter.
Over the course of two millennia, and the spread of Halloween traditions across six continents, the holiday has changed, especially in the U.S. But while it’s a great excuse for adults to party, Halloween is still a fun, family-oriented observance for all age groups, especially children.
Get out your wallet
The National Retail Federation reports that Americans will collectively spend $9.1 billion this year alone on Halloween. That’s up by $700 million from last year and represents an average of $86.13 per household. These figures place Halloween second only to December holidays in total holiday spending.
The observance has become so popular, many cities now have retailers that open pop-up stores for four to six weeks, dedicated solely to the accoutrements needed to celebrate Halloween in style. Other retailers, whose merchandise is focused on costumes and party supplies for many occasions, rely on Halloween sales for a significant portion of their annual revenues.
Safety is priority one
Fun activities associated with the holiday are not without risk. Accidents, many of which are avoidable, can and do occur on Halloween. The National Safety Council’s Injury Facts 2017 report shows that 160,000 pedestrian-related injuries requiring medical attention occurred in the U.S. in 2015, 6,700 of which, unfortunately, proved to be fatal.
They add that October is one of the worst months for pedestrian accidents. Primary causes of those occurring on Halloween include people improperly crossing roads and incidents attributable to lack of visibility because of low lighting or dark clothing.
Simple tips to make trick-or-treating safe
There’s no real trick to staying safe on Halloween — it only requires following some common sense guidelines. Keep in mind:
- Adults should always accompany children as they walk (not run) door-to-door.
- Purchase or make costumes that are bright and/or have reflective materials to help enhance visibility in low-light settings.
- Take flashlights (with fresh batteries) and use them at all times while navigating neighborhoods.
- Stick to sidewalks wherever possible. Where there are no sidewalks, step out of the roadway whenever a car approaches.
- It’s much safer to trick or treat on a street by walking from home to home on one side and returning on the other versus darting back and forth across the street.
- Cross streets at well-lit intersections and only enter the roadway when no vehicles are in sight.
- Make sure all parts of costumes are fire-retardant.
- Never let your children enter a home of someone you don’t know and trust.
- Don’t consume any goodies that are not individually sealed in factory packaging unless you are certain they came from a trusted source.
Halloween safety measures for adults
In the excitement of the evening and making sure your kids have a safe and enjoyable Halloween, don’t forget a few safety tips of your own.
- When driving, stay alert for anyone who might step into your path, and keep a sharp lookout for children in dark-colored costumes that make them more difficult to spot.
- Make sure your own home is well lit and that your driveway and walkways are clear of obstacles that someone wearing a mask or other part of costume that partially obstructs vision might not see.
- If you have a jack-o-lantern, illuminate it with a battery-powered electric light. After several hours with a candle burning in the cavity, a pumpkin can catch fire.
Good guys will be knocking on your door
Here’s some good news if you’re easily frightened by the sight of little kids in scary outfits depicting dreaded characters. The National Retail Federation report shows that we have little to fear this Halloween, as more superheroes and princesses will be knocking on our doors than witches, pirates and ghosts.
No matter how you’re celebrating, here’s hoping you stay safe and enjoy Halloween 2017!