By: Carolina Pichardo
As I write this, our Halloween plans are in limbo. Many of the activities we normally do have been cancelled or move due to Hurricane Sandy. My daughter, who had several Halloween costumes up her sleeves, is sticking to her Bumblebee set and just hoping to get some good treats.
She’s happy, we’re happy, and after this Hurricane, our main goal is to stay safe from the possible looting, random candy, and the occasional scary tricks.
Mark Cichon, DO, chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Loyola University Health System agrees safety is key during Halloween, and that nothing–for a parent–is scarier than a trip to the emergency room. To avoid that, he suggests parents take precautions and have lots of fun.
1. Inspect Treats. Are there treats without a wrapper? How about candy pieces that are too hard or large? These are the most hazardous to children. “Make sure candy and goodies are age-appropriate; avoid smaller pieces for younger children that could be a choking hazard,” said Dr. Cichon.
2. Balance Candy with Healthy Foods. Let them have candy, but offer them a few grapes and apples as well. “When my four children were younger my wife and I would hide their candy and allow them each to choose two pieces after dinner to limit over-consumption,” said Dr. Cichon.
3. Make Halloween Costumes Visible and Comfortable. If you’re trick-or-treating later in the day, have the children wear colors that make them stand out. Also, if it’s not easy for them to move, make sure you adjust the costumes to give them the freedom to run around a bit. “Masks, hats, wigs, glasses, hoods — costumes often include headgear that can obstruct vision and lead to trips and falls,” said Dr. Cichon. “And make sure it is easy to walk in the costume without tripping or catching on things.”
4. Dress for the Weather. Still easing out of Hurricane Sandy’s damage in the East Coast, most of the kids here are already dressed for winter. However, with their costumes, many will want to forego the outdoor gear. Layer them with interior garments instead. This way, they could still enjoy the “look” of Spiderman, Bumblebees, etc. “Check skin temperature and watch for signs such as shivering or lethargy. Don’t forget to wear waterproof footgear that has treads for sure footing.
5. Grownup Supervise + Join the Fun. Adults can join the trick-or-treaters to supervise and – of course – join the fun. If possible, wear a reflective safety vest and provide each child a glow stick or flashlight to increase visibility. If you ask us, glow sticks are always a big hit. “You want to be able to see where you are going and also for others to see you, especially around moving vehicles,” said Dr. Cichon. Create a group or buddy system and enjoy the fun.
Young Urban Moms’ co-founder, Carolina Pichardo, is a digital marketer by day, writer and community activist by night, and mom to Lulu always. You can reach her email@example.com or on Twitter @c_pichardo.