Happy Halloween from the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd.
October ushers in many fall season traditions: pumpkin spice everything, apple orchard visits, hay rack rides, and, mostly important (arguably) the Halloween season. Halloween has been regularly and extensively celebrated by families in the United States. Irish immigrants popularized it during the time of the Potato Famine. Children of all ages have since enjoyed the opportunity to dress up. Children then journey through their neighborhoods with friends and family members. And of course, they ask their neighbors for delectable treats!
Halloween is meant to be all fun and games and candy. However, the days getting shorter and the sky growing darker earlier and earlier each day. The importance of safety this Halloween season becomes very important.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are five areas that parents and community members should focus on when helping to ensure a safe but fun Halloween:
- Halloween costumes,
- pumpkin carving,
- door step safety, and
- trick-or-treat safety.
When searching for Halloween costumes, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to consider:
- Purchasing costumes that are both bright and reflective.
- Having children wear shoes that fit well. Avoid high heels to make long routes more enjoyable and tripping avoidable.
- Keeping the length of a child’s costume from touching the ground. Keep children safe if they wear a long costume. Keeping the length slightly shorter will allow children to avoid tripping.
- Avoiding masks. Masks inhibit a child’s visibility. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to consider non-toxic makeup or hats. Prior to applying makeup all over the child’s face, test the product on a small patch of skin before Halloween. Look for any adverse effects from the makeup. If your child wears a hat, make sure it fits. An ill-fitting hat can lead to the hat sliding down into the child’s eyes causing visibility impairment.
- Buying flame resistant wigs and accessories.
- Making sure any swords, canes, or sticks that accompany a costume is not long or sharp. This can keep a child from easily and severely hurting his or herself if s/he stumbles.
- Avoiding the use of decorative contact lenses not purchased from an eye doctor. In many states, you need a prescription. But even if it is not illegal, it is dangerous. Avoid the medical bills. These kind of contacts can cause pain and inflammation as well as serious eye disorders and infections potentially leading to permanent vision loss.
Any time sharp objects are involved, additional safety precautions should be taken, and carving pumpkins is no exception. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises people to do the follow things when carving pumpkins:
- Children should not carve pumpkins on their own. However, don’t carve them out of the process. Just supervise them! Adults should allow children to draw a face or picture on the pumpkin. Then adults should carve the pumpkins.
- Candlelit pumpkins can pose some safety concerns. Rather than using a candle, pumpkin carver could consider lighting the pumpkin with a flashlight or glow stick. But if you want the traditional candle, use a small votive. It is the safest fire source to use.
- If you are using a candlelit pumpkin for decoration, place the pumpkin on a study surface such as a table and never left unattended. The lit pumpkin should be kept away from flammable items such as curtains. These pumpkins should also not be placed on a porch if they are in the way of visitors utilizing the stairs.
- Door-Step Safety
While we always want to keep our close family and friends safe, when turning on your porch light and letting children trick-or-treat at your home, you should also make sure their safety is ensured as well. To ensure this safety, homeowner should:
- Remove any articles in the path of trick-or-treaters that could cause the children to trip such as hoses, toys, or other barriers.
- Keep the path up to the door well-lit by replacing any burned-out bulbs.
- As cute and potentially sweet as they may be, pet owners should curtail pets to keep them from jumping on or biting a child even if prior behavior indicates otherwise.
And now to the main event! With an increase of pedestrians on the road but still the normal amount (potentially more if trick-or-treaters are being carpooled) of cars on the road, pedestrian injuries are the most regular injuries to children on Halloween, more than scraped or skinned knees. Trick-or-treating should be a fun activity for all children and their accompanying friends and family. To ensure this fun, be sure to:
- Have a parent or adult journey with young children.
- Bring flashlights with fresh batteries for each child and escorting adult.
- Plan and agree on a route and curfew if older children are trick-or-treating alone or with a friend group.
- Approach homes with lit porch lights. Trick-or-treaters should never enter the home or car of someone to receive their treat.
- Well-lit streets should be a trick-or-treaters means of travel, and pedestrians should never cross the street between parked cars or out driveways.
- Always keep with the group you are trick-or-treating with and stay in communication. Carry your cell phones.
- Notify law enforcement of any suspicious activity. Make sure trick-or-treaters know how to contact police in cases of emergencies.
- The addition of reflective tape on costumes are trick-or-treat bags to increase visibility.
If you have been injured while trick-or-treating, please contact the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. today for a free consultation.
Additionally, this year – look for teal pumpkins for houses giving away allergen free treats!