Halloween is once again creeping (pun intended) towards and with it comes plenty of fun, spooky happenings and tasty treats. Here at 123.ie we always have our safety hats on - it’s part of our job you understand. We know that Halloween is one of the most fun times of the year between the toffee apples, trick or treating and bonfires, however, it’s also crucial to remain safety-conscious during this time with emergency services often reporting some of the highest rates of call-outs across the entire year.
Here are a few tips to ensure you have a happy and healthy Halloween.
1. Trick or Treating is for adults too
While it’s often tempting to let your children head out with a group of their friends on Halloween, make sure they're old enough to be out alone otherwise they should have a supervisor or guardian present.
If your child was going out to walk the dark streets on any other night of the year, would you let them do it alone? We know that it’s always a fine line between allowing your children the freedom they need to grow up to be healthy and independent adults and the very real fear that something might happen to them.
It may not seem like it, but statistically, we live in a much safer time than thirty or forty years ago, with much of the fear driven by the media. This will have to be a judgement call on your part, but if you feel something doesn’t seem right, there’s nothing wrong with being the adult chaperone for the evening - complete with costume of course!
2. Be Street Smart
We know that Halloween can get quite hectic with children pouring in all directions in search of those yummy treats. But just because it’s October 31st, doesn’t mean that street safety needs to completely go out of the window.
You don’t necessarily need to do anything special, but just stick to the basics. Look both ways when crossing the street, beware of the usual kind of dangers and make sure that the kids know that even though it’s Halloween, streets can still be dangerous.
It’s never a bad idea to add something reflective to a costume if possible as it will help your child to be seen clearly at night.
3. Beware of the Bonfire
One of Halloween’s oldest and warmest traditions is the local bonfire. It’s probably preferable, and safer, to attend an organised event rather than a private bonfire, but if you do want to create your own, here are some important steps.
There are also a few things you should know before attending. You should never ever burn aerosols, batteries, bottles, tyres, or tins. Instead, use wood or branches that have already been cut and always try to keep a safe distance from the fire, at least 5 metres away – as sparks can tend to fly (and not the good kind). Also bear in mind what people are wearing, even if they are 5 metres away. Certain materials, such as cotton, cotton/polyester blends, rayon, and acrylic are much more combustible than others.
Where possible, keep some buckets of water nearby in case of an emergency, and always be on the lookout for children or animals nearby. And make sure you check your bonfire for any hibernating wildlife!
4. Take good costume care
Most people don’t think too much about the safety of their child’s costume. However, this can play a huge part in keeping your Halloween happy. For young children, be conscious that masks can obstruct visibility while being hard to breathe in. If something feels uncomfortable in your own home, you can bet that it’s going to multiply the longer the child is out, potentially spoiling the experience and even causing harm.
It’s also worth noting that if you're using face paint, ensure it’s non-toxic which will prevent allergic reactions. Similarly, if you’re buying a costume from the shop, it would be a good idea to buy one that’s labelled ‘flame resistant’ as many people that are out and about will have lanterns, candles and other decorative flames.
5. Pumpkin Care
Carving a pumpkin is one of those fun Halloween activities we all look forward to - and yes, we’re talking about adults too.
Children are always desperate to lend a helping hand when it comes to the pumpkin, but it probably goes without saying - but we’ll say it anyway - a child should never do the actual carving themselves unless using a completely blunt instrument.
It’s much safer for an adult to do the actual knife work, while a child can help by scooping out the pumpkin flesh. If they want to be even more involved, why not ask them to design the pumpkin face that you will carve? Even if they draw something incomprehensible, you can always adapt your design to it and it will make the child feel like they’ve had a greater role. If you need some inspiration, here are a few ideas to get you started.
6. Safety outside the home
If you’re not out on Halloween yourself, you can probably expect more than a few knocks on your door followed by the traditional ‘trick or treat’.
Before nightfall, it’s always worth checking that there is easy access to your front door. Are there any plant pots or other items that could easily be tripped over when it’s dark? For that matter, if you have a porch light, having it on always provides a much more friendly and inviting atmosphere and children are much less likely to hurt themselves if they can see where they’re going.
7. Limit the sweet consumption
As children troop into the house and disgorge a small mountain of sweets and chocolate onto the kitchen table, you’ll be sure to notice a devilish glint in their eyes. That is the look that says, ‘I want to eat all of those before I go to bed’.
Make no mistake about it, if children are left alone and given free rein, they will attempt the unthinkable with little thought of the consequences. It’s important to put a limit on sweet consumption early and then make sure you stand by it.
A good horde of Halloween sweets can often equal what a child would normally consume over several weeks and even months, so if you want to avoid stomach problems, late-night vomiting, and slightly unnerving sugar highs that see them bouncing off the walls, you’ll need to put a cap on their consumption.
8. Don’t be the monster of bad driving
With kids swarming the streets in the hunt for sweets and treats, make sure you’re not the one that’s going to scare them and make an effort to drive with extra care over the evening. Drive very slowly and don’t overtake stopped cars – the driver may be dropping off children. Be prepared for kids to dart out in front of you, even if you’re not near a pedestrian crossing. With all the lights and flames of the night, they may not see your lights or signals.
9. Insurance with 123.ie
Hopefully, these tips will help you and your loved ones have a happy and healthy Halloween. Safety matters here at 123.ie so make sure you have the cover you need. Whether you’re in the market for health insurance, home insurance, or something completely different, knowing that you’re covered makes a huge difference. Life has a habit of throwing out those curve balls that we don’t see coming, but with 123.ie, you’ve got the support you need.