As a kid, Halloween was one of the most magical days of the year. I got to dress up as my favorite character, snack on candy corn all day, then run around the neighborhood with my friends collecting free candy—the dream! And since trick-or-treating was canceled last year, this year's festivities are sure to be extra special. But before you get too far into spooky season, there are a few Halloween safety tips your family should consider.
Pumpkin Carving Safety
Carving jack-o'-lanterns is one of our favorite Halloween traditions, but there are a few safety precautions you should know about before you begin carving. These pumpkin carving safety tips will make sure you get through the spooky season with all your fingers intact. Most importantly: Always supervise children while carving, and always be sure to cut away from the hand that's holding the pumpkin. Using a printable pumpkin stencil will help you make small and precise cuts, and choosing a soft pumpkin will make you less likely to cut yourself as you're carving out a friendly face.
Of course, you can skip the sharp tools all together by creating one of our festive no-carve pumpkin ideas instead.
Kids look forward to trick-or-treating all year long, so it's easy for their excitement to get away from them on Halloween night. Before you head out to collect candy, be sure to talk with your kids about a few important safety measures: Small children should always stay close to a parent, and older children or teens who want to trick-or-treat with a group of friends should follow a pre-determined route and check-in periodically with a mobile phone.
Remind kids they should only approach houses that have the porch light on, and it's a smart idea to always carry a flashlight when walking around after dark. Always stay on the sidewalk or driveway, and go all the way down one side of the street and back up the other side, rather than zig-zagging across the road. It's also a good idea to add a reflective element to kids' costumes, to make them more visible to cars that may be passing by.
If you think your kids may be too young for trick-or-treating, or you're worried about the pandemic, there are plenty of alternatives your family can do instead (like making boo bags or decorating Halloween cookie houses).
Halloween Candy Safety
When trick-or-treating is over, it's customary to run home and dump out your candy haul—but don't dig in right away. It's always a good idea to look over the candy with your kids before they start chomping down on Snickers (or before you steal said Snickers). Never eat candy that's unwrapped (even a little bit!) and always be on alert for known allergies.
If your children have food allergies to ingredients commonly found in candy (nuts, chocolate, and food dye are common), consider participating in the teal pumpkin project. With a little pre-planning, you can create a trick-or-treating route for them to houses that will hand out non-food treats instead of candy they can't have. Or, grab a few of these yourself and let your child trade in those candies for fun Halloween trinkets at the end of the night.
Halloween and the Pandemic
While it may seem like the pandemic is more under control than it was last Halloween, we're not in the clear just yet. And since most kids can't be vaccinated yet, there are still a few safety precautions you should consider. First, large Halloween parties probably aren't a good idea this year. If your kids are itching to do something festive with their friends, have an outdoor pumpkin decorating day instead and space each child out at their own station.
Masks are also a good idea, especially while trick-or-treating. These are a few of our favorite Halloween-theme face masks that children and adults can wear (or incorporate a mask into your costume!). It's also a good idea for the whole family to get tested for COVID-19 before and after attending a large gathering or going trick-or-treating.