Ensure the physical and mental well-being of your children on Halloween by keeping these things in mind.
All Hallow's Eve has become a tradition for many American families, where children have the chance to express creativity and imagination through costumes, as well as enjoy the process of collecting free candy. While it may seem like a light-hearted evening of sweets for the young ones, parents need to have a broader view of the evening. Here are some things to keep in mind for a safe, fun, and inclusive holiday.
1. Costume Safety
While it's important for children to be happy with their costume, their well being and comfort throughout the night should be top priority. Ensuring a proper fit is crucial, as costumes that are too long or have flowing components, such as capes, can cause a tripping hazard. Masks can restrict vision, so consider an alternative such as face paint. Children walking around in the dark can be a frightening thought. Try to find costumes with a glow in the dark aspect, or fine a way to add reflective tape in a way that your child is happy with. Taking as many precautions as possible can help the night stay focused on what the goblins really care about: candy.
2. Candy Bucket Colors
We all know pumpkins are orange, so it's no surprise to see that many of the pumpkin candy buckets children carry with them are in that color as well, but if you see a child with another color, don't always assume they just prefer that or wanted to stand out. The color may mean something. For example, a dark blue bucket can indicate an individual with autism is on your doorstep, so they may struggle to communicate in the way other children do. A non-verbal child may just hold out their bucket without a "Trick or Treat." Eye contact is often extremely difficult for children on the spectrum, so having an understanding of this could be helpful. A teal bucket can mean the child has food allergies, so having an alternative to candy such as trinket toys would allow those children to enjoy the experience as well without posing a health risk.
3. Trauma Triggers
Halloween can be fun, but it can also be very scary and stressful for some children. Children who have experienced trauma, like many foster and adopted children have, may view certain costumes or the experience of going door to door in the dark differently than their guardians would anticipate. It's important to be aware of this for children in your care and, if necessary, seek alternatives such as community events during the day time which could allow them to trick or treat without the potentially triggering elements. Emotional health is more important than one evening of candy.
4. Trick or Treating Location
When choosing where, and when, to take children trick or treating, there are a few things to consider. If you live in a large neighborhood where you trust those around you, it may be best to stay on your own stomping grounds. If not, you can google safe places to trick or treat in your area. You will likely find several lists and suggestions. Look for well lit neighborhoods and consider calling local nursing homes to see if they like community children to come through, as this is often a very fun experience for the residents as well.
5. Treat Safety
Unfortunately, concern about the safety of candy passed out to children has been an issue in recent years. Do your research and have a conversation with your children about what they are and are not allowed to consume. Teach them to check to see if candy is open, and you may want to tell them they can only accept home-made goods from people they know. If you plan to hand out home-made treats, be aware that other parents might have concerns.