Help little ghosts and princesses have a safe and happy Halloween
By Kyle Gains
While many still cite Christmas or Thanksgiving as their favorite holiday, it’s undeniable that Halloween has grown steadily in popularity over the years. What was once a one-night event, homemade costumes has transformed into a month-long celebration of all things that go bump in the night! Though spooktacular decoration displays and adult costume parties have become commonplace, the main event for children remains the fun-filled hours after dinner on Oct. 31, when they pound the pavement in search of peanut butter cups, lollipops and other sweet treats.
Trick-or-treating is a time-honored tradition that dates back nearly a century here in America; and while it’s a highlight of fall for most kids, it’s important to take a handful of safety tips under consideration before turning your vampires, princesses and pirates loose in the neighborhood.
- Check costume length to ensure kids won’t get tripped up when climbing stairs – this is particularly important with dresses and capes. Proper footwear is also important for avoiding falls – gym shoes are their best bet.
- If your child’s costume includes a mask, check the eye holes to ensure his/her peripheral vision is not obstructed; enlarge holes if necessary.
- Props such as wands or swords should be made of foam or very pliable plastic; avoid hard plastic items.
- Remind kids to cross the street at designated crosswalks (those lit by a streetlight, if possible), and never to cross from between parked cars.
- Make sure kids know not to eat any treats until you have a chance to take a peek – discard any unwrapped items or pieces with torn packaging.
- Visibility is key, particularly with dark costumes. Have children carry a lit flashlight, and take advantage of St. Charles County Ambulance District’s free glow-in-the-dark bracelets – they’re available at all stations and our headquarters facility.
Halloween safety most definitely also extends to drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children are twice as likely to be struck by a vehicle on October 31 as opposed to any other day of the year. If you find yourself in the car on Halloween night, keep the following in mind:
- Reduce speed significantly in residential areas.
- Avoid distractions (phone calls, texts, earbuds, etc.)
Throughout the final weeks of October, the Ambulance District and St. Charles City-County Library District will partner to offer a series of free Halloween safety events for families to take advantage of. In addition to covering the aforementioned safety tips, we’ll give kids a tour of the ambulance, help them make a fun mummy craft, and read a not-so-scary story. Program dates, times and locations, along with a registration link, are available at www.youranswerplace.org.
Kyle Gaines is Director of Community Relations for the St. Charles County Ambulance District.