A Few Considerations for Little Ones at Halloween

Ah, October. It’s the epitome of the fall season and one of my favorite months of the year. I love it. The weather, festivals, pumpkin farms, hay rides and most importantly, Halloween!

Our neighbors have a giant inflatable spider with light-up eyes in their front yard. It’s fun. The older kids love it. The little ones are scared to death. My daughter insists on crossing the street to get as far away from it as possible. It’s all part of the fun, but it’s also a reminder that Halloween can be hard for young children to understand.

Every year, the medical center releases a list of Halloween Tips for Parents. It’s really good stuff. After my daughter’s reaction to the inflatable spider, I made a point to read the tips more closely than usual this year. I found some good information, including a recommendation to spend some time helping children interpret Halloween as a make-believe situation, and so far, with the exception of the giant spider, my 3 year-old is doing pretty well understanding that the scary stuff is just pretend. We have a neighborhood get-together planned this weekend and I’m grateful that it starts early so the little kids will have an opportunity to see the costumes and familiar faces under the masks before it gets dark.

I also thought a bit more about her costume this year than I have in previous years. She’s becoming more independent and she is terribly clumsy (I apologize to her regularly for that lovely trait she inherited from me) so we carefully chose a costume that didn’t have anything baggy or hanging from it that could possibly pose a tripping hazard as she’s walking up and down steps.

These costume tips are excellent to keep in mind as you’re putting finishing touches on costumes over the next few days:

* To avoid potential burn injuries, look for flame-resistant materials for costumes and be particularly aware of open flames in Jack O’ Lanterns

* Choose costumes that do not have sharp objects attached – or alter the costume if necessary

* Beware of costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big baggy sleeves or billowing skirts

* Make sure masks allow for full vision – if you have one that doesn’t, consider face paint instead

* If your child wears a hat, mask or scarf, make sure it fits securely and provides adequate ventilation

* Make sure children wear properly fitting shoes

* Plan costumes of highly visible colors

* Adhere reflective tape or stickers to costumes or treat bags or have the child wear a reflective bracelet to make them more visible to drivers

A few considerations before a party or a trip around the neighborhood can make a big difference to the little ones who are trying to make sense out of a potentially frightening, potentially dangerous holiday. Please take a few minutes to read the full list of safety tips and if you have any questions or concerns, post them here and we’ll address them as quickly as possible for you. And beware of the giant inflatable spiders, many of their heads move too!  Happy Halloween!

Kate Setter

About the Author: Kate Setter

Kate manages social media at Cincinnati Children's, a role that she loves because it gives her opportunities to help families find stories and pediatric health information that they want and need. Kate is the mother of a four year-old and a toddler, you will probably hear about them and their antics from time to time as well.

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