Trick-or-treating on Halloween is a rite of passage for many children. It’s a chance to dress up as a ghost or a zombie, and collect chocolate and sweets, all with the blessing of your parents.
As well as enjoying the fun with children, it is important to consider their safety. According to the National Safety Council, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween, compared with any other day of the year and, last year, product review site, Which? found some children’s Halloween outfits failed to meet safety standards in terms of flammability.
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The security specialist, Expert Security UK, has compiled a list of tips to keep children safe during Halloween celebrations. Along with ensuring costumes are made from a flame-retardant material, the company urges adults to choose accessories, such as masks and wigs, that don’t obstruct a child’s vision.
Any face paint used must be clearly labelled non-toxic and children should steer clear of fancy dress shoes that could make walking difficult – children will have a far better time trick-or-treating if they’re comfortable. If children insist on wearing uncomfortable or potentially hazardous pieces of clothing, suggest having a photoshoot before leaving the house or setting and remind them pictures will be far clearer when taken indoors.
As the end of October draws near, it is likely children will be knocking on doors when it is already dark outside. While this is part of the spooky appeal, Expert Security warns it is a wise idea to add reflective strips to costumes or encourage children to wear glow stick bracelets to make them more visible to passing traffic. If you want to start trick-or-treating earlier, suggest to children they might have a better pick of the treats if they head out before friends.
Children under the age of 12 should always be accompanied by an adult when trick-or-treating, but even with an adult present, it is still a good idea to remind them about keeping safe at night. Teach them to always walk on pavements and never the road, and explain the importance of sticking to fully lit streets, instead of alleys, quiet side streets or people’s lawns.
Remind them there is no rush! There is no need to run between houses and they should only visit those with the lights on. If you want to be extra cautious, it is often a good idea to only visit homes that have a pumpkin outside, as it indicates those inside are happy to receive visitors.
It is important to remind children about keeping safe around strangers. They should never enter a stranger’s house or car and it is a good idea to check the collected sweets and chocolates before children tuck in. Things to watch out for are open or ripped packets, as well as homemade treats, unless you know the person. It is also important to look out for any potential allergens for more vulnerable children (it’s a good idea to remember this for children visiting your own house – have a variety of treats available so all children can take part in Halloween).
How to cut down on sugar
With the outgoing chief medical officer for England warning the country is nowhere near the Government’s target of halving child obesity by 2030, it is up to parents, carers, teachers and practitioners to monitor and improve children’s healthy eating.
Children love the opportunity to tuck into sugary sweets and snacks at Halloween and while it would be a touch unfair to rob them of all chocolate, there are ways to interest them in healthy alternatives and reduce their sugar intake.
Monkey Puzzle nursery group has compiled a list of nutritious Halloween treats – with equally brilliant names – that will make healthy food fun in the run up to Halloween.
- Boo-nanas A peeled banana stood on one end with chocolate chips pressed in to the fruit for eyes and a chocolate button for a mouth.
- Count Guacula Heads Guacamole-filled avocados, decorated with chopped peppers for fangs and tomatoes for blood-red eyes.
- Pumparines A peeled tangerine with a stick of celery poking from the top, giving it the appearance of a pumpkin.
- Spooky Black Bean Hummus A take on hummus made with nutritious black beans, drizzled with tahini and yoghurt dressing in the shape of a spider’s web.
- Toad Soup with Witches Fingers Pea and lentil soup (the lentils give it a swampy texture) with home-made cheese straws for dipping. Halved almonds make for great fingernails at the top (with optional red food colouring for blood!)