Witches and goblins and ghosts…oh my! It’s that time of year when walking to our mailboxes means passing by porches decorated with spider-filled cobwebs and flickering jack-o-lanterns. Neighbourhood front yards begin to fill with spooky inflatables, mannequins, and tombstones, while white ghosts and skeletons hang from the tree branches, dancing in the breeze. Halloween is just around the corner!
Months in advance, children begin to plan their perfect Halloween costumes, while dreaming of pillowcases filled with candy. Makeup artists begin practicing their skills, bringing Halloween costumes to life with their talents. Costume parties are planned, houses are decorated and Halloween snacks are purchased for the trick-or-treaters. The anticipation grows.
Exciting and fun as Halloween may be, there are still dangers to consider and be on the lookout for. By being aware of and preparing for them, we can keep all the little ghosts and ghouls safe!
Preparing your Calgary home for trick-or-treaters
- Park your vehicle in the garage. This allows for more room as groups head up to your door, as well as eliminates any accidental bumps or swinging of accessories into your vehicle!
- Turn on all your outdoor lights to keep the sidewalk and yard well lit
- Remove any obstacles like bikes, toys, garbage bins from the walkway/driveway to eliminate tripping and falling
- Keep any pets in the basement or kennel, away from the front door. Young children reaching out to pet a nervous dog could result in a nip or bite.
- Use LED candles in your carved pumpkins. This will eliminate getting knocked over and starting an unnecessary fire.
Children of all ages will be out, with costumes varying from princesses and penguins, to vampires, monsters, and demons. Extra scary decor, or jumping out from behind a tombstone may deter young children or give them nightmares, so keeping “scary” to a minimum (or not having) any will allow more children to feel safe and welcome at your door. If you enjoy having some extremely scary decor, perhaps use those for an adult party on a separate evening.
Preparing children who are trick-or-treating
When it comes time to take children out with their plastic pumpkins and pillowcases ready to fill, prepare them before heading out by explaining possible dangers and sharing tips on keeping safe. Some safety measures for younger children are:
- Always have a parent accompany the child to the door
- Make sure that any face masks do not obstruct the child’s vision.
- Add a piece of reflective tape to your child’s costume for cars to see and carry a flashlight
- Stay on lit up sidewalks and do not cross the road without a parent
Older children venturing out on their own should be forewarned of expectations and safety measures. These include staying together in a group and not separating, someone having a phone in case of an emergency, never going into a stranger’s house, not heading to a last-minute party without talking to parents first, as well as what time they are expected to be home.
Driving Around and Heading Home
When driving your children around, be sure to drive slowly and cautiously in Calgary neighbourhoods, on extra alert and ready for a child darting from behind a vehicle. Corners and intersections will be extremely busy with pedestrian traffic, so be patient. Avoid driveways, but if planning to do the rounds to friends and family, be extra mindful when backing out.
Once everyone is home from a fun and safe Halloween evening of trick or treating, be sure to go through the mountain of candy and check for anything that may have been opened and re-wrapped ripped packaging, or loose candy, as well any homemade treats from a stranger. These should be erred on the side of caution and thrown out. Keep any smaller candy or toys, as well as gum and hard candy for older children to prevent choking in babies and toddlers.
Have a fun and safe Halloween!
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