CLEVELAND – Halloween night has many little ghouls and goblins out and about in search of tricks or treats in their neighborhoods.
But before letting the little ones out the door for the night, Richard So, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic Children’s said there are a few things that parents can do to make sure it’s a safe and enjoyable evening.
In the midst of the chaos of making sure costumes fit and treat bags are in hand, he said parents might take this opportunity to teach their little ones an important lesson.
“Number one, a thing that all parents are looking for is manners,” said Dr. So. “We should all do a dry-run where you practice at home, saying, ‘Trick-or-Treat’ – and what does every parent yell from the curb? – ‘Say ‘thank you.”
In addition to manners, Halloween night is a good time to teach safety.
Make sure kids have either flashlights or glow sticks – to keep them visible in the dark and also so that parents can tell their children apart from the others.
And make sure everyone knows it’s ‘safety first’ when crossing the street at night. Set rules, such as no running from house to house, across any streets, or in-between cars.
Little ones should never cross the street alone.
“Car safety is a big issue during Halloween,” said Dr. So. “There’s twice as many car-pedestrian accidents on Halloween night than any other day of the year. We don’t recommend kids under ten years old crossing any street by themselves.”
Dr. So advises families to have a pre-determined meeting place where everyone can meet if they get separated from one another.
Talk about the rules of staying together and make sure parents have their cell phones on them and charged at all times.
Parents must pay close attention to kids who have food allergies. Dr. So said it’s essential for these children to have their epinephrine pen with them when heading out the door to Trick-or-Treat.
Also, make a rule that no one eats their candy until mom and dad have checked it at home.
In order to keep Halloween night from becoming a disaster when it’s time for bed, parents should aim to prevent their kids from eating too much Halloween candy on the run.
“Give children a pizza party, or eat a huge meal – feed them their favorite food for dinner – before you go so they’re full before they head out,” said Dr. So. “Not only will they walk it off; but it will keep them from feeling hungry, and hopefully less likely to eat on the road.”