While we do not see many leaves change color around Tampa, nor do we feel a definitive crisp in the air, the ubiquitous pumpkin flavored delights indicate fall is here. Once fall begins, so does the countdown to Halloween. In a couple weeks, children will be taking to the streets in ghoulish garb, royal raiment and a host of other costume genres. Granted, we know that most parents are keenly aware of all the necessary precautions to ensure a safe Halloween, but we wanted to post a quick 5 tip refresher just in case.
1. Costume Design:
Rather than agonize over what your child will be for Halloween, prepare to optimize your child’s costume for safety. If she wants to be a princess, let her be a princess. Just make sure to find a gown that is not too long or one you can hem beforehand. No one wants her highness falling, now do we?
If your son wants to be a werewolf, let him be a werewolf. Just convince him that child safe non-toxic makeup is far scarier than any mask. Masks can cause rapid overheating and breathing problems. Worse yet, considering how loud streets get on Halloween, especially if you are in a group, you may not hear him gasping for air. Thus, it is best to avoid masks whenever possible.
Lastly, if your child’s costume requires props, buy ones that are flexible and preferably rubber. We only want them wearing eye patches once a year…well maybe twice, we cannot forget Gasparilla!
2. Plan Your Path:
Anyone who has ever been around children, knows that they can go from a hyper ball of energy to a sulky slump of fatigue in a very short time. Add a heavy costume and this transformation can happen even faster. Therefore, plan the path you will be walking, and do not just use your memory. Sure, you may know your neighborhood like the back-of-your-hand, but usually, that is based on driving, not walking.
Map out what streets you are going to go down and what streets you are not. Also, if you know of any streets that connect to make shortcuts, incorporate those where you can. If you are in a neighborhood that you do not know very well, (and do not have time to investigate it personally) try using google maps’ street view to virtually walk through the area.
3. Let Your Light Shine:
Bring a flashlight and make sure your child’s costume is lit up in some way. Reflective tape and glow sticks work nicely for this, but be creative in their application. After all, tonight’s darling of the underworld may not enjoy looking like a construction barricade. Reflective tape could be jazzed up as strips of fire; glow sticks could be alien blood. Whatever works best with your child’s costume, go with that, but if you make the safety features cool, they will be more apt to display them prominently.
Whether we are discussing Trick-O-Treating, Black Friday or tailgating, you should always bring water. It is one of those obvious tips, that’s so obvious, people often forget. There will be lots of walking. There will be extra heat from the costumes. There will be extra weight (hopefully) from all that candy! Thus, make sure you drink some water beforehand and bring some along the way. If your child has a strong disdain for the “elixir of life,” perhaps bring a long a water flavor enhancer, as well.
5. Bring Candy With You:
Because we know NONE of you are going to let your child eat any candy before you inspect it, it is best to bring some of your own to give them along the way. Sure, it might seem perfectly fine to inspect the candy as you go, but that can be problematic. Your attention will be split between inspecting the candy, keeping track of your kids and making sure you have enough light to see properly. Plus, once you stop to inspect the candy once, you will be stopping to do it constantly. This distracted repetition could lead to you missing something you would not have missed, if you had waited till you got home to inspect it. Thus, it is best to set firm ground rules that they will not have any Trick-O-Treat candy until you inspect it at home, but you will give them some of the candy you brought.
We hope you enjoyed these tips, and we wish all of you a happy and safe Halloween!