Still scrambling for last minute Halloween costumes for your children? Keep your kid's safety at the top of the list.
While dark costumes are often the scariest creatures, these are also the ones with the worst visibility. Dark costumes make it harder for others to see your child in the dark. You want your ghouls to be seen, especially by automobiles and other vehicles at night.
Masks are always popular if your goblin can stand to wear one, but they may obstruct the view of your trick-or-treater! Many experts recommend you avoid them altogether, but some masks are just too awesome to say “no” to. You may want to enlarge the eye-holes to increase your child’s visibility and peripheral vision. Make sure your little prankster can breathe easily in the mask and NEVER let your child fall asleep while wearing their mask.
Mummys, Zombies and even the dancers in Thriller have strips of fabric dangling from their costumes; make sure those loose pieces stay in place and do not become a trip hazard to your young walkers on Begger’s Night.
Shoes should be comfortable and fit well. An option to Mom’s ill-fitting, high-heeled stripper boots may be having your little one wear black sneakers and long, black socks instead. Spats are a nice option as well, they simply fit over your shoes and are held in place by elastic.
Costumes, wigs and other accessories should be flame retardant and kept away from open flames, including candles that are housed inside of Jack O’Lanterns.
Think zippers, snaps and Velcro. As a mother of three kids of my own, some of the best advice I can share with you is to make sure the costume comes off quickly. If your little one has to use the bathroom, or Heaven forbid gets too close to an open flame, you want to be able to get the costume off of your youngster in record speed!
Have your child practice walking in the costume, this includes going up and down stairs. Make necessary adustments such as shortening a tail, choosing alternative footwear or hemming the front of a ball gown.
Use elastic, not string or cord, when making costumes – especially when used near the face and neck.
Consider the possibility of rain. Is the costume appropriate? Will the colors run?
Weapons should be flexible and look fake. Replica weapons are never appropriate for children without strict supervision.
Taller children and teen’s costumes should be given additional attention. Masks that cover the face are illegal in some municipalities and you do not want your teen mistaken for a real cat-burglar!
Add relective tape to costumes to increase visibility, especially to motorists, and always carry a flashlight.
Be careful with too many props. If your child has a candy sack, a pirate sword, a flash light and a bottle of water to carry, expect something to get lost or dropped.
Keep an eye on your kids. The youngest kids cannot go trick-or-treating without you, but the older kids want to go it alone. We found a great compromise by packing a cooler in the wagon and tagging along with the kids. They have their space, Dad has cold beer in the cooler and the over-protective mom still has her watchful eye on her brood should they need her. If you have enough room in the wagon, add a trash bag, band-aids, Pepto-Bismol for the stomach aches, an umbrella and a change of shoes for the kid who insisted on wearing his father’s boots.
Halloween is also a great time to review the “Stop-Drop-and-Roll” procedure.
Make sure your child knows your home and/or cellular telephone number.
For more safety information visit the US Consumer Product Safety Commision’s website.