Safe, Healthy, and Fun Halloween for Children
Is your family ready for Halloween this year? This is an exciting time for kids to dress up in
costumes, go trick-or-treating, and participate in spooky activities. We want to make sure that
your kids not only have fun, but also have a safe and healthy holiday. Read on for tips and ideas
to keep in mind for your family!
Many children love dressing up in costumes and in their favorite characters. When shopping or
putting together your child's costume, it's important to find one that fits well. Long capes and clothing items can cause trips, especially if they go trick-or-treating when it's dark. You'll also want to take precautions with certain accessories like fake swords. These shouldn't be sharp as they can cause injuries. If your child is wearing any kind of makeup or face paint, look for potential toxins that may cause allergic reactions or infections. It's always best to try a test patch first to ensure safety. We strongly advise against using decorative contact lenses without an eye exam and a prescription from an eye care professional. For more info about the risks of decorative lenses, check out this guide from the AAP.
One of an all-time favorite Halloween activity for children is trick-or-treating. If you have young
children participating this year, we recommend having an adult accompany them. If you have
older children going, be familiar with the neighborhood that they will be trick-or-treating in and
what route they'll be taking. Encourage them to go in a group and remind them to keep their
phone on them in case of an emergency. Trick-or-treating is a common time for pedestrian
injuries so it's important to teach your kids to look both ways on the street before crossing and to keep a lookout for oncoming vehicles.
When your kids return from trick-or-treating, take a thorough look through the candies and
treats they bring back. If any of them are unwrapped or look suspicious, throw them out. While
tampering with candy is rare, it can still happen. Children should never consume any candy or
treat that is not properly sealed. Another thing to be aware of when it comes to Halloween
candies is that some of them might have allergens, such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, soy,
and wheat. If your child is allergic to any of these, do not let them consume them. Always check
the ingredients of the candies they bring back. For babies and toddlers, be careful of choking
hazards. Never give them any hard or gummy candies, as well as popcorn.
Halloween is definitely a special occasion for children to get to enjoy sugar treats, but it's still
recommended to be cautious of not letting your kids consume them in excess. Candies are high
in added sugar and empty calories, so come up with a limited amount your child is allowed to
have. One to three candies per day is generally acceptable for kids.
If you're looking for some fun Halloween activities to do with your kids, decorating pumpkins
and making crafts is a great way to celebrate the holiday. Do keep in mind your child's age
when using materials for decorating. Small children should not carve any pumpkins nor be allowed to light candles. If they want to decorate pumpkins, have them use markers or paint to
draw faces and use glow sticks instead of candles. Kids can also create Halloween posters or
sock puppets as other safe alternatives. For a list of Halloween activities that help with child
development, check out this resource.
Your kids might enjoy watching spooky or scary movies on Halloween. For these, you'll want to check the ratings and assess if the film they're planning to watch is appropriate for their age. Be careful of letting them watch anything that is too frightening or violent as that can be disturbing for kids and cause nightmares. Common Sense Media is a great resource for evaluating films and their parental guidance.
Lastly, younger children might feel scared by some of the Halloween activities and events, like
visiting a haunted house or walking through a haunted trail. Let your child know that Halloween
is all pretend. If they're still terrified and uncomfortable, don't pressure them into anything. It's ok if kids don't want to be involved in Halloween. There's always next year when they're older and they may feel ready!