Keeping Kiddos Safe During Halloween
Author: be well™ with Big Y® Registered Dietitian Team
Tips for making this year’s celebration fun and safe for everyone.
As a parent, navigating trick-or-treating can feel like an endeavor. Weave in food allergies, or other medical conditions like diabetes, it’s understandable to feel a bit overwhelmed. We all want to keep our kids safe (and those in our community!), so do your part to become savvy on ways to keep everyone safe this Halloween.
Leading up to the big celebration, create a safe costume. Since masks can block little one’s vision, non-toxic face paint is recommended. When buying a costume, be sure to choose one that is flame resistant and bright colored. Add reflective tape and stickers to costumes, especially dark-colored ones, so children can be seen by passing cars. Every good costume has a great accessory. Choose well-fitting shoes and foam replicas of weapons in lieu of anything with a sharp edge that could cause injury and/or break.
Trick-or-Treat Safety for Ghouls & Goblins
Join in the festivities with younger children and take them on the path to trick-or-treating. Accompanying children as they age is a great way to impart safe practices such as using flashlights and glow sticks, crossing crosswalks, sticking to familiar routes, only visiting well-lit homes and never entering people’s homes or cars.
As children grow up and begin to make the rounds without adults present, practice how the evening will unfold beforehand. Nail down the route they will take and when and with whom they will go. Be sure they know to stick with their group, and never walk alone, especially when crossing streets. Verify there will be cell phones on hand for emergencies and how and when they should call 9-1-1.
Every child should have their rewards for a night of trick-or-treating checked by a caregiver to ensure each piece is properly wrapped. But what about children with a medical concern impacted by Halloween candy?
Step #1: Offer more than candy.
Yes, candy is great but if you have little ones with a food concern, they may not be able to partake in what is being offered. Fill that bowl of goodies with a mixture of food and non-food options such as candies with and without milk, nuts, peanuts and artificial colorings paired with small toys, temporary tattoos, pencils, erasers, noise makers…the combinations are endless!
Step #2: Join the Teal Pumpkin Project™.
Tell your community you have non-foods offerings by displaying a teal pumpkin on your doorstep. Learn more, below, about how you can go teal for Halloween and help spread the word!
Step #3: Read labels.
If your child has a food allergy or needs to stay on top of specific nutrients like carbohydrates, check the treat’s label for an ingredient listing and/or Nutrition Facts label. If nothing is present, visit the manufacturer’s website online.
Step #4: Make a Candy Plan.
Have a conversation with your children ahead of time on what they should do with the candy they receive: How much should they keep? How much should they donate to local hospitals or candy exchange programs for sending overseas? Can they sell pieces to you (e.g.: $0.05 per piece)?
For the candy they do keep, discuss the best practice for enjoying it. How many pieces make sense to have each day? Would it be best to combine candy pieces with nourishing food such as a glass of lowfat milk for after lunch? Whatever the plan is, stick to it yourself.