This year, Halloween festivities are likely going to look a little bit different than normal. After all, packed streets full of ghosts, goblins and ice queens reaching into shared bowls of candy doesn’t quite fit with current recommended health practices.
But for many families, some form of outdoor celebration is still a must. Whether it’s scaled-down trick-or-treating with to-go bags, a costume parade or a neighborhood decoration contest, there will be kids out on the streets Halloween night. Here are some tips to keep kids safe this Halloween, no matter what kind of celebration you end up having.
Tips for a socially distanced Halloween
This year, the CDC recommends trick-or-treating alternatives, like outdoor movie nights, pumpkin carving contests and costume parades. If you do decide to participate in trick-or-treating, the CDC suggests:
- Avoiding direct contact
- Handing out goody bags
- Keeping everything outside (instead of handing out candy from your doorstep)
- Plenty of hand-washing
- Masks for all but the tiniest pumpkins (kids under 2)
Tips for staying safe Halloween night
If you are out and about, remember that the most important thing is to be seen. Dark costumes and excited kids can create dangerous situations on the road. Kids are more than twice as likely to be struck and killed by a car on Halloween than any other night, according to the National Safety Council. To stay safe
- Use reflective tape to brighten up costumes and candy bags, or add some glow stick necklaces and bracelets.
- Choose a light-colored costume for nighttime celebrations.
- Cross the street at corners, or in crosswalks.
- Trick or treat on streets with sidewalks, if possible.
- Be aware of cars backing up out of driveways.
- Avoid costumes with masks or elements that make it hard to see.
It goes without saying, but younger kids should be out only with a responsible adult. Older kids who have permission to go out in groups should be able to offer a precise itinerary of where they’ll be and when they’ll be home. And the old scary Halloween advice still applies: Teach kids to hold off on the candy until an adult can look it over.
If you’re driving, stay alert and drive cautiously. Yes, social media is possibly at its best Halloween night, but put down your phone while you’re on the road. (The same goes for kids out trick-or-treating and any adults accompanying them.) Even if it’s still early in the evening, turn on your headlights.
And if you’re hosting a pumpkin carving contest or planning on a bonfire, remember fire safety. Keep your little ones away from matches, candles and flames, and be sure all fires are attended at all times.
This year, whether you dress up the kids and distance visit with the neighbors or just stay in and watch “Hocus Pocus,” keep safety in mind. It’s a strange season, but one that can still be fun, and maybe even spark a new family tradition or two.
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