Ten Tips for a Safe and Healthy Halloween!Posted by HCGH on Oct 23, 2012 in Health, Safety | 0 comments
Trick or Treating was a big deal when I was little and growing up in Clarksville. We didn’t have store-bought costumes; instead we created our own out of pillowcases and sheets, old clothes, tinfoil and duct tape. I can recall being a ghost and a spy and the Statue of Liberty. (My mother encouraged me to memorize the inscription; “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”) The costumes had to be sturdy and flexible because Trick or Treating in our, then, rural neighborhood meant climbing over fences and gates and walking through fields, streams and forests. (We all saw what happened to Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird when she wore an awkward ham costume while walking home on Halloween!) We knew our neighbors well and so while the t.v. news stories about x-raying apples were creepy- it wasn’t something that we worried about. Nowadays, kiddos arrive by the vanload in neighborhoods that have good lighting, sidewalks and houses in close proximity. The children don’t wear pillowcases- they carry them to collect a monster-sized stash of candy from people whom they’ve never met.
As a parent I fought unsuccessfully against the gluttony of treats and the commercialization of All Hallow’s Eve. For every toothbrush or spider ring I gave out (Yes, I was THAT neighbor), my husband would counter with a full-sized Hershey bar. My children probably cringed in every humble dress-up-box costume I created as they marched in the school parade- side by side with friends wearing extravagant life-like replicas of squad cars with flashing lights, monsters in professional stage make-up and princesses with Swarovski crystal slippers. (When my youngest was a home-spun witch in first grade along with her two friends she received no extra points for being able to quote Macbeth… “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble…” Yes, I was THAT mother, too!) But if they cringed then- they seem to embrace the concept of creative homespun costumes now.
Although I couldn’t win the toothbrush versus chocolate war- I was able to significantly reduce their sugar consumption. Early on we devised a ‘cash for stash’ system. My children accepted the bribe at the end of each Halloween evening to “sell’ their pillowcases of treats to us for $10.00. (We reasoned that bringing the motherload of sugary treats x 3 to the office and making our colleagues sick and fat was somehow better)
But I digress. Without further ado, the top ten tips for a safe and healthy Halloween:
- Choose bright and/or light costumes that are easy to see do not obstruct your child’s vision
- Choose a costume that allows your child to move freely (remember Scout!)
- Trick or Treat before dark or attach lights or glow sticks to their costumes after dark
- Young children should always be accompanied by adults
- Older children should travel in small groups
- Organize your community to post adults strategically throughout the neighborhood
- Allow your children to visit just the neighbors or people you know to solicit their treats
- Check their candy when they get home and don’t allow them to eat anything that is open or unsealed
- Limit consumption of candy by limiting the size of their container. When the container is full, it’s time to go home. Or, after arriving home, encourage them to select some of their treats and surrender the rest. (Check out Operation Buy Back where local dentists buy back the candy and donate it to our troops)
- Take the emphasis off of the treats and help your children celebrate the non-edible traditions (Talk about the best jack-o-lanterns they saw , the scariest house, or the funniest costume. Watch It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown or read a good Halloween story)
Bonus Tip? Take lots of photos- the years fly by fast!