Halloween has always been a favorite of mine. I don't know if it was the candy, the dressing up, the neighborhood involvement, or the general feeling of happiness that everyone, old and young, felt. I think I went trick-or-treating longer then any of my friends and was always the one trying to talk my other 18-year-old friends into going with me. If I wasn't trick-or-treating, I was throwing a Halloween party. The only thing I knew for sure was that I was going to celebrate one way or another. I love Halloween so much; I even brought my oldest child trick-or-treating three days after giving birth to her younger sister. Nothing was going to keep me from sharing with her something that I grew up to love so much.
Unfortunately, times have changed since I was a young child walking the streets for candy and fun. Special care must be taken to be sure the excitement of Halloween doesn't turn into disaster.
The National Safety Council offers some great advise for parents and children to be sure to enjoy the special night safely. "There is no "trick" to making Halloween a real treat for the entire family." Before planning your night of fun, check to see if your community has an assigned time for trick-or-treating and go over these safety tips as they pertain to your children
Halloween Safety Tips from the NSC
Both children and adults need to think about safety on this annual day of make-believe.
The National Safety Council urges motorists to be especially alert on Halloween.
* Watch for children darting out from between parked cars
• Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.
• Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
• At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.
Before children start out on their "trick or treat" rounds, parents should:
• Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for children under age 12.
• Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow. Know the names of older children's companions.
• Instruct your children to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route.
• Teach your children to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well lit and never to enter a stranger's home.
• Establish a return time.
• Tell your youngsters not to eat any treat until they return home.
• Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian/traffic safety rules.
• Pin a slip of paper with the child's name, address and phone number inside a pocket in case the youngster gets separated from the group.
• Only fire-retardant materials should be used for costumes.
• Costumes should be loose so warm clothes can be worn underneath.
• Costumes should not be so long that they are a tripping hazard. (Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween.)
• If children are allowed out after dark, outfits should be made with light colored materials. Strips of retro reflective tape should be used to make children visible.
• When buying special Halloween makeup, check for packages containing ingredients that are labeled "Made with U.S. Approved Color Additives," "Laboratory Tested," Meets Federal Standards for Cosmetics," or "Non-Toxic." Follow manufacturer's instruction for application.
• If masks are worn, they should have nose and mouth openings and large eyeholes.
• Knives, swords and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials. Do not allow children to carry sharp objects.
• Bags or sacks carried by youngsters should be light-colored or trimmed with retro-reflective tape if children are allowed out after dark.
• Carrying flashlights will help children see better and be seen more clearly.
ON THE WAY
Children should understand and follow these rules:
• Do not enter homes or apartments without adult supervision.
• Walk, do not run, from house to house. Do not cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards
• Walk on sidewalks, not in the street.
• Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic if there are no sidewalks.
To ensure a safe trick-or-treat outing, parents are urged to:
• Give children an early meal before going out.
• Insist that treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten.
• Wash fruit and slice into small pieces.
• When in doubt, throw it out.
HALLOWEEN PARTY THEMES
Whether you decide to go trick-or-treating or hold a Halloween party for your friends and family or even invite your whole neighborhood, here are some fun party ideas that can easily and inexpensively be put together. Use your imagination and add to these party themes with some of your own ideas. Remember to ask your neighbors for their help and candy donations.
Invitations: Cut out animal shapes on construction paper and write the party information on these. Hand deliver to your guests.
Decorations: bales of hay, bunches of dried cornstalks, autumn leaves, pumpkins, gourds, dried corncobs.
Serve food in western bandannas attached to sticks. Be sure to make a scarecrow. Carved out pumpkins make great serving dishes or chip bowls.
Witches, Wizards and Goblins
Invitations: Buy several cheap plastic magic wants. Print out invitations on white paper with important information. Scroll up around want. Tie with orange and black ribbon. Hand deliver to guests.
Decorations: String Christmas lights around the entrance way. Hang silver and gold stars through out the party area. Mylar gold and silver balloons can also be hung. Cut out ghost shapes in Mylar and hang. Glow-in-the-dark tape attached to walls, doors, lamps etc. is nice when lights are low. Grave markers can be made from Styrofoam sheets - use felt-tip markers to make inscription.
Cats and Bats
Invitations: Cut out the shape of cats or bats in construction paper. Write important party info on these. Hand deliver to invited guests.
Decorations: Have guests enter through a cat door (place a dark blanket over half the doorway and let guests crawl through). Hang black crepe paper and cobwebs everywhere. Hang black silhouettes of cats and bats throughout the house. Black balloons are a nice touch.
Invitations: Buy inexpensive eye masks at party store. Write important party information on mask and hand deliver to guests.
Decorations: Bats hung everywhere! Make a coffin out of cardboard and leave at entrance way for kids jackets etc. to be placed inside. Hang black and green crepe paper or streamers.
Nightmare at Haunted House
Invitations: Cut out tombstone shapes on construction paper. Write party info in the form of an epitaph. Hand deliver to guests.
Decorations: Hang spider webs, plastic insects, phony tombstones, ghosts, balloons, witches and bats. Use back and white candles (out of reach of children). Hang ghosts made from white pillowcases. Use white balloons with black eyes drawn on them with markers. Ask florist to save dead flowers and wreaths that would be thrown away. Create a headless heathen by stuffing old clothes with newspaper and prop up at front door. Dry ice makes a special affect at these parties. (*Please be sure to use the dealers safety recommendations for the handling of dry ice-NEVER allow children to handle dry ice)
Post originally submitted to AshevilleMommies Blog on October 14, 2011 by Natalie