Halloween is a tradition that has been celebrated over a millennia, with roots in ancient Celtic traditions marking the beginning of winter. It has since morphed over centuries, becoming the modern-day celebration we have today - when adults and children dress in costume and go door-to-door asking for treats.
As the holiday has gained popularity over the years, there are several safety issues to keep in mind while celebrating.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire is a large concern during Halloween. Unfortunately, many of the favorite activities associated with Halloween can be serious fire hazards, especially if precautions aren’t taken. Halloween fires are responsible for $13 million in property damage every year, in addition to risks of injury and death.
They recommend these tips to practice fire safety:
Use a battery-operated candle or glow stick in jack-o-lanterns
When choosing costumes, stay away from long trailing fabric
Teach children to stay away from open flames, including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them.
Practice “Stop, Drop, and Roll”.
Dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper catch fire easily. Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters
Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
Remember to keep exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes. Make sure all smoke alarms are working.
Another concern is that children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. The National Safety Council has information on staying safe - lack of visibility because of low lighting at night also plays a large factor.
Keep these tips in mind when your children are out on Halloween night:
A responsible adult should accompany young children on the neighborhood rounds
If your older children are going alone, plan and review a route acceptable to you
Agree on a specific time children should return home
Teach your children never to enter a stranger's home or car
Instruct children to travel only in familiar, well-lit areas and stick with their friends
Tell your children not to eat any treats until they return home
Children and adults are reminded to put electronic devices down, keep heads up and walk, don't run, across the street
This year (2020) it has been necessary to set a precedent for health safety and protocols have been put in place for safely celebrating. According to the CDC, certain high risk activities should be avoided to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:
Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door
Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots
Attending crowded costume parties held indoors
Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming
Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
Halloween is always a fun day, and teaching kids how to stay safe is an important step in celebrating.
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