Halloween Safety Tips

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by Colin McNulty

Halloween is upon us again, and whether you love it or hate it, it’s an event that kids anticipate for weeks and months. I mean, a day when huge piles of sweets are obtained for free and consumed in gluttonous proportions without consequences, it’s every kid’s dream day surely?

To be honest, I’ve always thought it a bit odd that most people* tell their kids not to talk to or take sweets from strangers, then on one night of the year, we actually facilitate and encourage this behaviour. This giddiness means that children (and adults to some degree) can put thoughts of safety to one side. At a time when kids are in fancy dress, out on the streets at night, on strangers’ property and knocking on strangers’ doors, this is the last day of the year you want to forget about safety.

I was very pleased then, when child safety pioneers KidPower emailed me to tell me about their 8 point plan on how to keep kids safe on Halloween. You can read the full article here: Halloween Safety ~ The Kidpower Way, A Grab Bag of Safety Treats and Tricks for Your Family! The main points of the article are:

  1. Stay Focused on Your Children’s Needs
  2. Be Aware of Costume Safety
  3. Watch Out for Cars
  4. Keep Cats and Dogs Inside and OUT of the Action
  5. Take Extra Precautions to Avoid Getting Lost
  6. Review Stranger Safety Rules
  7. Avoid a Halloween Meltdown
  8. Make a Plan About the Treats

I love the KidPower articles because they are full of real, actionable advice, and will help you enjoy Halloween with your family as it should be: having fun, safely.

Stay safe.

P.S. I said above that most people tell their kids not to talk to strangers. I actually think this is the wrong advice! One day, your child may find itself lost and alone and need to approach a stranger for help. Maybe they’ve lost you at the shops, or maybe their responsible adult has had an accident and is unconscious. Either way, do you want the first time your desperate child needs to illicit help from a stranger, to also be the first time they’ve actually tried talking to a stranger? Or worse, if they’ve never learnt the skills of how to pick a safe stranger, have them wait to be approached by someone offering help (which is much more dangerous!)?

Encourage children to talk to strangers!

So whilst it’s a contrarian view point, I actually encourage children to talk to strangers, but do so under my supervision and so in a controlled and safe environment. This then becomes a learning opportunity to discuss how to pick someone to ask for help, and how to listen to and trust your intuition and instincts.

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