To Trick or Treat

‘Double double toil and trouble/Fire burn and cauldron bubble.’

It’s October, which means Halloween, the second largest commercial holiday in the United States after Christmas. While exciting for children who get to dress up as their favorite character and get lots of candy, for many adults, Halloween is dabomb!

Halloween merchandise, as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas, appeared in stores as students headed back to the classroom in July.

Halloween is all about the costume. And while your child will change his or her mind a million times before deciding on the ultimate costume – be it a superhero, a villain, a ballerina or a witch, don’t wait too long to scope out and order the perfect costume, or it might be too late. If you snooze, you sometimes lose! This goes for adults, as well. With recent box office hits, popular costumes for adults include Indiana Jones, Barbie, Maverick of Top Gun fame, Wednesday Addams, Ted Lasso, and others.

Before heading out to the store, the Food and Drug Administration wants you to remember these safety tips when choosing a costume:

  • Avoid baggy outfits and flowing cloaks. These stray pieces can easily brush across an open flame or trip up a trick or treater when they’re walking.
  • Shoes should be comfortable with laces securely tied. Decorative heels and oversized shoes can result in a painful spill.
  • Be sure to buy costumes that are labeled as flame resistant. With flickering candles and jack-o-lanterns there are many open flames around on Halloween night.
  • Make sure any makeup you use is hypoallergenic. Nothing is less fun than a rash on Halloween.
  • Avoid masks: They may be fun, but they can obstruct vision. Use face paint instead! Make sure wigs and beards don’t cover your kids’ eyes, noses, or mouths.
  • Never use decorative contact lenses. Most aren’t certified by optometrists and can cause severe eye damage.
  • Avoid any sharp or long swords, canes, or sticks as a costume accessory. Your child can easily be hurt by these accessories if he or she stumbles or trips.
  • You’ll often find dozens of trick or treaters coming to your door in the same costumes. Unique costumes are recommended so your child is easy to pick out in a crowd. If your child is wearing a similar costume to others, make sure to add something which stands out from the rest.
  • Don’t rely on flashlights being the only thing that makes your trick or treater visible. Use reflective tape and glow sticks to make sure drivers can clearly see your child as they cross the street. Additionally, don’t ever let your kids go out in an all-black costume, no matter how scary they may look.
  • Dress for the weather! Make sure you layer clothing under a costume in the event the weather turns chilly.
  • Put a nametag — with your phone number — on your children’s costumes.

Before you or your children go trick-or-treating, remember to eat a healthy snack or a light meal before heading out to avoid the temptation of nibbling on a treat before it has been inspected. Going trick-or-treating on an empty stomach can lead to overeating.

Also before heading out, check with your town, or city about preferred neighborhood  trick-or-treating hours.

When cruising the neighborhood, remember:

  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
  • Map out your route before leaving the house, and notify loved ones what time you plan to return home.
  • Put electronic devices down, keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
  • Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
  • Only visit homes with their porch lights on. Never enter a home, or a vehicle, for a treat. In general, it’s best to stay in your own neighborhood and stick to the homes of people you know.
  • Join kids under age 12 for trick-or-treating. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, tell them to stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
  • Do not cut across yards and or use alleys.
  • A responsible adult or older teen should accompany young children on the neighborhood rounds.
  • Agree on a specific time children should return home.
  • With Halloween falling on a school night, you may need to trick-or-treat early in order to get the kiddos calmed down and ready for bed before it gets too late, so they’ll get enough sleep and be ready for school the next morning.

Our next Apple A Day blog will offer suggestions on Halloween treats that aren’t candy to hand out to your young trick-or-treaters.