It’s finally here! The most candy-filled holiday until Christmas is here and legions of little monsters will be taking to the streets to raid their neighbours of all their Haribo and fun-size Snickers. But as with all activities, especially the ones that include wandering around at night knocking on stranger’s doors, there is an element of risk. These are 5 basic tips for staying safe tonight.
1. Use battery-operated lights in your Jack-O-Lanterns
This may seem quite obscure and unnecessary but children have been badly burned because they combined the tiny open flame hidden inside a root vegetable with the highly flammable fabric of their 9.99 supermarket princess outfit. The most famous case of this happened to Claudia Winkelman’s daughter was severely burned when her fancy dress costume ignited in 2014. She has campaigned for production of safe, flame retardent costumes ever since.
Always check if your child’s Halloween costume is fire retardent and invest in some LED tealights for your own Jack-O-Lanterns. Here’s some on Amazon.
It may seem obvious but that Gruffalo outfit or Moana dress is not intended as actual clothing, it’s a costume. It is likely to be quite cheaply made and quite thin fabric. This often doesn’t mix well with the fact it’s October outside. When sending or taking your kids out into the cold for a couple of hours, make sure they’ve got enough layers on under or over the costume to keep themselves warm enough.
3. Where possible, travel in groups
Knocking on several neighbour’s doors in the pursuit of candy can be fun but these houses often belong to total strangers and bad things can happen. To keep everyone safe and to look after the younger trick or treaters, it’s recommended to travel in small groups. Please do also keep in mind that having 20+ little boglins turn up on your doorstep can also be pretty daunting for the average homeowner.
4. Only knock on doors with Jack-O-Lanterns outside.
This is one of those things that is only just starting to become well known as we more heavily adopt the Halloween tradition of trick-or-treating from our American cousins. If someone wishes to participate in the handing out of candy, they should display a Jack-O-Lantern in their front garden or window. This is a signal to the children roving the streets that they are ‘open for business’ as it were. Plenty of people don’t wish to participate for perfectly good reasons and this simple rule helps avoid disturbing those that wish to not be involved.
Keep an eye out for teal pumpkins too. These are intended to indicate that the treats on offer are safe for children with severe food allergies and intolerances.
5. Check your candy when you get home
Before the kids start tucking into their lollies and chocolate have a quick look through what they’ve brought back with them. Ideally they should have candy that is individually wrapped or factory sealed. Any homemade edibles are usually advised against as they are easier to tampered with and the ingredients could be anything. Obviously, if you receive something homemade from a neighbour you know, there’s less cause for concern but don’t let them eat anything that you wouldn’t want them to accept from a stranger.
Though it’s unlikely to happen, there is a long-running urban myth about people hiding harmful objects in Halloween candy but it is exactly that; a myth. Nevertheless, exorcising a bit of caution won’t do any harm.