Children trick-or-treating with their candy buckets and costumes on

Have Safe, Family Fun in Ottawa This Halloween with These Trick-Or-Treating Safety Tips

It’s that time of year for jack-o-lanterns, trick-or-treating, and ghouling around! While your kids love dressing up and experiencing a life of wonder and fantasy, the reality is that there are dangers to be aware of.

Whether you’re hosting a Halloween Party for the kids, taking them trick-or-treating, or staying home to hand out candy, you can still have family fun in Ottawa while being safe on Halloween.

So follow this safety guide to enjoy this spooky time of year safely and securely with your loved ones.

Road Safety

Make sure your kids know the rules of safely walking along roads. Ideally, they will only walk on sidewalks. But if there are no sidewalks, they should walk as close to the curb as possible and in the direction facing traffic so they can see cars approaching.

Kids should always look both ways before crossing the street, ideally left, right, then left again. And they should only cross at street corners, crosswalks, and traffic lights. Kids also need to keep an eye on cars that are backing up or turning.

Careful While Carving

Carving pumpkins is a fun Halloween tradition. But it is hazardous for young kids. So have your young children paint pumpkins. Or, let them draw a face with a marker so you can carve the pumpkin afterwards.

Use Candles with Care

Candles are a fire and burn hazard, especially when left unattended in jack-o-lanterns. So keep your lit pumpkins on a sturdy surface away from flammable materials, like curtains. And consider using a flashlight, glow stick, or battery-operated candle in your jack-o-lantern instead.

Costume Guidelines

When choosing a costume with your kids, keep these costume tips in mind.

Go Bright

When making or buying your kids’ costumes, choose light-coloured material that will help keep your kids visible at night. Also place reflective tape or stickers on your kids’ costumes and give them glowing wristbands and flashlights. This will make it easier for drivers to see your kids when they are walking around at night.

Size It Right

A well-fitted costume will prevent trips, slips, and falls. So make sure your kids’ costumes, including their shoes, aren’t too big or long. And don’t choose shoes that are difficult to walk in, such as heels.

If the shoes have laces, double-knot the laces. And if the weather is chilly, layer up your kids’ costumes so they will be warm and comfortable outside.

Skip Masks

Masks can obstruct your kids’ views of their surroundings, posing a safety risk especially when they are crossing the street. So to ensure your kids can see everything around them, including vehicles, skip the masks and opt for a hypoallergenic, non-toxic makeup kit to paint their faces with. But make sure to wash off the makeup thoroughly before bed.

Limit Props and Accessories

Costume props, especially pointed ones, are often a poking hazard. And hats and headpieces can also obstruct your child’s vision. So consider giving your kids useful accessories like flashlights and glowing wristbands. And only use accessories and costumes that are flame resistant.

Trick-Or-Treating the Smart Way

During the most fun night of the year, follow these trick-or-treating safety tips.

Accompany Your Kids

If your kids are young, especially under 12, you should accompany them while trick-or-treating. Also label their costumes with your address and contact information.

Kids ages 12 and older are usually fine to go trick-or-treating with a group of friends instead.

Set Ground Rules

Make a rule that your kids cannot eat any candy until they get home and you go through it.

For older kids who are trick-or-treating with friends, set a curfew. And make sure your kid has a watch or phone with them to keep track of the time.

Plan the route they should follow. Ask them to call if they decide to go off-route, e.g. on a different street that isn’t part of your original plan. And discuss other safety rules, such as calling 9-1-1 if there’s an emergency.

They should also never go into a stranger’s car or house or approach a house without any lights on.

Go Through Every Piece of Candy

Inspect your kids’ candy before allowing them to dig in. Discard anything that is questionable, such as torn packaging and packaging that isn’t sealed.

If you have young children, remove any gum, hard candies, and nuts, as these are choking hazards.

Check Labels for Food Allergies

If any of your kids have food allergies, carefully read the candy labels for warnings. Many candies are manufactured in facilities that could put them in contact with allergens. Whereas some candies will specifically have a logo on the label saying, “Made in a Nut-Free Facility.”

Heads Up!

You might want your kid to carry a cell phone in case of an emergency. But your kids should not be on their phones or other devices while trick-or-treating. They should have their heads up at all times to avoid tripping and falling. And they should be looking both ways before crossing the street, keeping their heads up the whole time.

Candy Concerns

If left alone with their bags of Halloween candy, kids can overindulge. So ration their candy by only allowing them to eat a few pieces a day. Or, consider trading their candy in for a gift, such as a toy, book, or outing. Too much sugar is unhealthy and will also cause cavities. So also make sure your kids brush their teeth properly after eating candy.

Getting Your House Trick-Or-Treat Ready

If you’re planning to hand out candy on Halloween, make sure your home is safe for trick-or-treaters passing by.

Clean Leaves, Snow, and Other Debris

Remove any slipping or tripping hazards from the front of your home. Rake leaves on your lawn and remove wet leaves and debris from your steps, walkway, driveway, and sidewalk.

If it has snowed, shovel your steps, walkway, and driveway, and add sand or salt to any ice.

Remove Obvious Obstacles

Clear away any obstacles in the path of trick-or-treaters, whether on your steps, walkway, driveway, or lawn. These include shovels, rakes, salt or sandbags, toys, bicycles, hoses, and lawn decorations.

Keep the Lights On

Turn on your outdoor lights and replace any burnt-out bulbs so kids can walk safely to and from your house with clear visibility of their surroundings. If it’s too dark, kids could trip and fall.

Lastly, if you have any pets, make sure they won’t get out or scare trick-or-treaters who come to your door.

Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids and adults alike. So follow these Halloween safety tips to make the most of this special day with your family while being safe.