It’s dark now. A sliver of moon hangs high in the night sky and lends the thinning trees an eerie pale glow. A stiff breeze rushes through the crisp fall air, just the sound of it sends a shiver through your body while every hair on your arm leaps to attention. Suddenly there is a gentle knock at the door. As you cautiously approach the sound, you carefully examine the peep hole and see nothing. Slowly you open the door only to be met with a terrifying sight, paralyzed with fear you are unable to turn or run away. Before you stands a horrible witch, a ghoulish zombie and… I’m guessing a robot from the silver spray painted box and aluminum foil hat? “TRICK OR TREAT,” a trio of tiny voices scream up at you in a mix of excited giggles and intense shyness.
When I was a child Halloween fell somewhere between Christmas and my own birthday in terms of all-time favourite holidays (granted the latter isn’t a widely recognized holiday yet). There is something thrilling about the spooky decorations, the fact that you are actively encouraged to wear a costume all day and neighbours freely dole out enough candy to keep you in chocolate until the end of the year. There is no doubt that Halloween night can be a lot of fun but the trick, as in anything, is to do it safely. There are a lot of different websites out there that will tell you how to do Halloween but where do you start? Here at
You Can't Trick or Treat If You Can't See Where You're Going
No kid will deny there is a certain allure to most store bought, straight from the box costumes. That excitement over the glossy packaging quickly dissipates however, after their first misstep off the curb puts a teary end to the evening.
Our advice? Leave the masks at home.
Masks can restrict vision and make it hard to see curbs, traffic and kinks in the sidewalk. Instead try using some hypoallergenic face paint to complete your child’s costume. While you’re at it you may want to hem those dragging capes and dresses. A successful trick or treater is an upright one!
Superheroes May Not Need Sweaters, but They Also Don't Catch Colds
I remember the fights with my mom well.
“FRANKENSTEIN DOESN’T WEAR A JACKET,” I’d yell.
“He does this year,” she would matter-of-factly throw back.
Well as much as it pains me to say it, mom was right. If you go out on Halloween night and can see your breath in the air, you’re going to want to insist your child dresses in layers. If conditions improve they can always lose a sweater or jacket. Additionally make sure they are wearing proper footwear for an evening of walking and potentially a raincoat or poncho if Mother Nature decides to make this Halloween a wet one.
The First Step to Staying Safe Is Staying Seen
As much as possible try to keep costumes light in colour. While those trick or treating in condos, apartments or community centres may not have traffic to contend with, ghosts and goblins of the suburbs do. It is important that your child stay as visible to cars as possible. You may want to add reflective tape to their costume or give them glow sticks to make sure they are seen.
Another good step for kids of all ages on Halloween is to make sure they stick to the sidewalks whenever possible and only cross at marked intersections. Treat this as a good opportunity to practice their stop, look and listen approach to safely crossing the road.
No One Trick or Treats Alone
If your child is under 10, there is probably little chance you were letting them head out Halloween night on their own. However in all the excitement it is easy to get separated so we suggest writing your child’s name, address and your phone number somewhere on their costume in case they get lost during the evening.
Most children 10 and over are probably ready to trick or treat on their own (use your judgment of course) so here are a few basic precautions to help these older ghouls stay safe:
- Always trick or treat in groups of three or more
- Send a flashlight with your child
- Discuss and plan the route your child and their friends will follow
- Set a curfew and make sure one in the group has a watch
- If your child has allergies, they should communicate this at the door
- If possible, send along a cell phone for emergencies
It Doesn’t Go in Your Mouth Until It’s Passed Mom's Eyes
You don’t eat your candy until a parent has seen it first. This is perhaps the oldest rule of trick or treating out there. The reasons for waiting to inspect candy at home are important, some are obvious while others may not be, but all are necessary for your child’s safety.
For younger trick or treaters, gum and hard candies can become choking hazards if consumed while walking so it is best to wait until the end of the night before these start coming out of the wrappers. Parents of children with allergies should also take extra care to examine all candy brought home to make sure they are safe.
Hopefully these tips prove useful to you and your family and ensure everyone out there enjoys a safe night of trick or treating. Have fun and Happy Halloween from your friends at