Learn a few tricks of your own to keep your kids happy and safe this fall season. (For Spectrum Health Beat)
Learn a few tricks of your own to keep your kids happy and safe this fall season. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

The girls? Some will be Elsa, some will be Anna.

The boys? Some will be Skywalker, some will be Vader.

No matter how your children and their friends decide to gear up for this year’s Halloween festivities, you’ll want to keep in mind some important safety tips.

According to Jennifer Hoekstra, injury prevention specialist at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year.

“Teaching your children how to be aware as pedestrians, and how to safely cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks is very important,” she stressed. “Look left, right, and even left again when crossing. …I tell all of my kids to put down their phones, keep their heads up, and walk (not run) carefully across the street.”

Teach your children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them, Hoekstra added, explaining it will make everyone more aware of the situation at hand.

Additional tips for safe trick-or-treating:

Costume planning

  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective.
  • Accessories such as swords, canes or sticks are fun—just make sure they’re not sharp enough to cause injury or long enough to trip someone.
  • Wear good shoes that fit well.
  • Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
  • Since masks can sometimes obstruct a child’s vision, try non-toxic face paint and makeup whenever possible.
  • Have kids use glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.

Pumpkin carving

  • Encourage young children to draw on the pumpkin, then have parents do the carving.
  • Never leave lit pumpkins unattended.
  • Votive candles are safest for candle-lit pumpkins.
  • Use knifes specifically made for pumpkin carving.

On the Trick-or-Treat trail

  • Children younger than age 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision.
  • If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, remind them to stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.  Agree on a time they should be home.
  • Remind children to stay in a group on the sidewalk.
  • Always cross at the crosswalk or corners.
  • Never enter someone’s home or car for a treat.
  • Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.