Halloween is a day most kids in the United States look forward to. However, it can also be dangerous. Whether it’s costumes, trick-or-treating, or candy, there are various things to be careful of. Moreover, some estimate a 17% increase in crime on this day each year.
Halloween Costume and Personal Safety
When it comes to costumes, think about where the child will be wearing it. If the child is going trick-or-treating, he or she may be in dimly-lit and high-traffic areas. As such, try to opt for costumes that would be highly visible. Alternatively, fastening reflective tape to their costumes is a good option. To make the night fun, you can even give them glow-sticks to carry.
If the child is wearing a mask, make sure they can easily see through it. They may be crossing a busy street, and it is safer if their mask doesn’t block their vision. Additionally, it’s best for children to wear fire-resistant materials.
If younger children are going out trick-or-treating, it is best to have a responsible adult with them. For older children, parents should know what neighborhood and route they’re planning to take. When it comes to timing, parents should set a time for their children to be home or to check-in. Additionally, children should always stay with at least one friend. Keeping a head count of the group is a good way not to lose track.
Children should be reminded to never walk through alleys, between parked cars, or cut across yards. Instead, they should only use sidewalks and designated crosswalks. And of course, children should never enter a stranger’s home or car. They should also keep clear of any pets, as they are more likely to be spooked by all the activity on Halloween.
Checking Candy on Halloween
For any treats or candy, kids should be encouraged not to eat anything until it’s been examined by an adult. Specifically, parents should discard the following:
- Loose or unwrapped items
- Open packages
- Unfamiliar brands
- Homemade items
- Choking hazards
Moreover, many children have food allergies. As such, all treats and candy should be inspected for potential allergens.
Each year, a warning goes out about the dangers of drugs being mixed into candy. The most recent scare has been about “rainbow fentanyl.” Over the summer, federal authorities seized brightly colored rainbow fentanyl pills that some said could be marketed to children. Yet some experts say any concern for this year’s holiday is just fear mongering. To avoid any risk, the FDA recommends kids only accept candy that is commercially wrapped, and for parents to examine the candy for signs of tampering.
Criminal Activity on Halloween
Each year, there is always an increase in criminal activity on Halloween. In most instances, it is simple “tricks” such as toilet paper on a home or spraying of silly-string. However, in other cases it can involve vandalism such as broken windows, homes getting egged, and cars getting keyed. In more serious cases, the evening can lead to assaults, burglaries, and other types of violence.
Staying home on the holiday is usually the best way to avoid these issues. If you must leave home, leave lights on and a television or radio. For circumstances where violence erupts, distance yourself from the situation and get to safety. And if you’re arrested, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.
- National Safety Council, Simple Steps for an Extra Safe Halloween. Available at: https://www.nsc.org/community-safety/safety-topics/seasonal-safety/autumn-safety/halloween (last accessed Oct. 14, 2022).
- Westchester County Emergency Services, Have a Fun, But Safe Halloween. Available at: https://emergencyservices.westchestergov.com/seasonal-safety/halloween-safety (last accessed Oct. 14, 2022).
- New York Department of State, Keep Your Child Safe: Halloween. Available at: https://dos.ny.gov/keep-your-child-safe-halloween (last accessed Oct. 14, 2022).
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