This is it! It’s that time of year where everyone dresses up and people are jumping out of bushes to scare you and give you candy. But keep in mind, with all the fun and festivities going on, fatalities and accidents also increase during this time of year. For example, did you know that child fatalities go up twice as much during Halloween than on other days – not surprisingly, these are mostly car accidents.
With tales of arsenic and razor blades in candy, it is no wonder so many parents are opting for safer Halloween activities like trunk-or-treating or simply staying home and handing out candy. An article by USA Today shows the number one cause of child accidents on Halloween is cars (not the candy, not strangers or kidnapping, but cars). As it turns out, arsenic and razors, while it has happened, is an uber-rare occurrence. But this hasn’t stopped parents from being super over-protective of their children.
Deviating from Halloween for a Moment, My Not-So-Popular Opinion
When does protecting our children begin to stifle their fun and joy? When is too much protection, well, too much protection? Could it be that this new generation of parents are dilly-dallying too much in our children’s lives – so much so that our little goblins lose the ability to think and assess situations for themselves?
My grandma had a 40-acre farm when I was young, and what I assume to be my parents’ attempt at getting a break from raising three kids (all two years apart) on their own, they would often shuttle us over to grandma’s to run-a-muck and express that jittery energy we all had as youngsters. My grandma, bless her, wasn’t the nicest lady in the world and would often lock us outside during the day, unsupervised, because she didn’t want us in the house messing things up.
With two ponds, a butt-load of animals and massive rolling gardens, we were always up to no good. For example, I remember trying to take my little sister out on one of the ponds when I was around 7 years old in an old boat gram-gram had lying around. There happened to be a large hole in the canoe which had gone largely unnoticed by myself until we started taking on water. My little sister wouldn’t stop crying until we were safe and sound on the shore. Don’t worry though! We made it and lived to tell the tale, albeit with soaking shoes and socks. In her defense, that particular pond was riddled with snapping turtles larger than we were, but still! We did all this unsupervised to my mother’s dismay. She didn’t hear stories like these until we were well in our teens. As a mom, I would have been equally mortified. But as a child, it was just another day in paradise!
Getting back to the topic at hand, as a mother, I would not let my 8-year-old go trick-or-treating unsupervised, though close to 12% of children five and under go trick-or-treating without the supervision of an adult. At the same time, I don’t want to be overbearing and choke the mystery and the hair-raising-but-thrilling unknown life has to offer. It is a delicate balancing act, this whole parenting thing. While I do give her the space to learn and grow on her own, I want her to be as safe as possible.
Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe While Trick-or-Treating
Popular trick-or-treating hours are from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm, FYI.
- Put reflective tape or stickers on your children’s costumes.
- Make sure your children carry flashlights or glow sticks with them so they can see where they are going.
- Considering trick-or-treating before the sun goes down, so your kiddos can see where they are going.
- Make sure your children cross the street at corners.
- Keep to the sidewalks or paths – if none are available, walk facing traffic.
- DRIVE SLOWLY – especially if you are driving your kiddies to another neighborhood. Children can be excited on Halloween and may not always look where they are going.
- Talk to your children about being safe on Halloween!
In summary, the last point is absolutely crucial. Talk to your children about staying safe. While accidents often happen in the blink of an eye, communicating with your children about how to stay safe, crossing at crossways and watching for signals and oncoming traffic is of the utmost importance. In fact, you can even teach your child to make eye contact with the drivers BEFORE crossing. And like miniature adults, sometimes children need to have this conversation a few times before Halloween, and again on the day itself. Just keeping you and your littles safe this Halloween Springfield!