It’s also important to keep safety in mind when children are collecting goodies on spooky neighborhood streets spilling over with ghosts and superheroes amid the traffic. Those handing out the treats must make their own homes safe when little monsters come knocking at their doors.
Halloween is also the holiday where candy is king: the National Retail Federation (NRF) projected that Americans would spend $2.5 billion on Halloween candy alone in 2016, with an anticipated grand total of $8.4 billion when combined with costumes, decorations, and greeting cards. While projections weren’t yet available for this year, you can bet they’ll still be up there. With childhood and adolescent obesity rates having doubled and quadrupled respectively in the last 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), mom and dad should consider healthy options in the mix of traditional favorites offered.
Here are a few tips to help ensure that Halloween is a happy, healthier holiday:
- Remove items near the home’s entrance that could cause children to trip and fall, from wet leaves and stray toys to decorations. Make sure outside lights are working. Choose battery-powered fake “candles” versus real ones. Restrain pets to make sure they don’t dart out underfoot.
- Leave the pumpkin carving to adults only. Kids can get crafty using chalkboard paint, felt cut-outs, magic markers, and stencils.
- Adults should accompany young trick-or-treaters with flashlights (check batteries beforehand); older costumed kids should grab a flashlight and follow a parent-approved route. Add reflective tape to costumes so drivers can see children better at night.
- Purchase wisely. Buy only flame-resistant costumes and wigs. Avoid masks that hinder the line of vision and never insert “decorative contact lenses” (they can cause very serious eye injuries). Opt for non-toxic face makeup.
- Never visit a home whose lights are off or enter an unknown house!
- Check all candy and ration it before eating. Offer chocolate-covered raisins (best to avoid nuts, with allergies in mind), or glow-in-the dark necklaces as “treat” alternatives.
Joint-host a spooky Halloween party for your kids and their friends to ensure both quality and quantity. By including creative and healthy snacks in the mix, not-too scary decorations, some “wickedly good” games for prizes, and a great soundtrack, you might just turn into the cool parents before they can say “Boo!”
By Lisa Miceli Feliciano