The temperatures have dropped and the sun disappears a little earlier every evening as we head further into the fall season. The family-fun tradition of Halloween festivities will soon have little goblins, ghouls and witches going door-to-door for sweets.
“It is wonderful to see some traditional activities returning as several communities in the area will have specific times for children, dressed in their Halloween best, to go trick-or-treating,” said Dr. Jorge Darwich, a Pediatrician with ThedaCare Physicians Pediatrics-Neenah. “As families are taking part, it’s important to have a plan for the big night to help ensure safety for all.”
To begin with, trick-or-treat times often begin before sunset, and continue into the evening after dark.
“It’s vital to put an emphasis on pedestrian safety because children may want to run to the next home or to the decorated home across the street,” he said. “Let’s help remind them to stay by mom and dad and look both ways before crossing a street.”
Planning and preparing what streets to take while trick-or-treating with your children can be a fun way to get your children more involved in the night, and set expectations for everyone.
“The extra benefit of planning out your route can also help set the intentions for your children,” he explained. “They’ll know that once you arrive at a certain street or once it’s a certain time, that it’s time to head back home. Also, be sure to discuss rules for the night for children so they know what’s expected of them.”
Other tricks and tips for Halloween safety include:
- Remind children to walk, not run.
- Hold hands with an adult and look both ways when crossing the street.
- Use bright colors in costumes or reflective tape.
- Make sure costumes fit properly. Be sure to hem pants or skirts to avoid tripping.
- Use flashlights
- Pin a tag with your child’s name and contact information to their costume in case you get separated.
- Reinforce to children that they do not get into a car with someone they do not know or go inside a home.
- Don’t accept homemade treats from strangers.
- Parents should check over every piece of candy for tears or tampering.
- Throw away anything that looks suspicious.
“It’s typically fine to let your child indulge their sweet tooth occasionally, however, you need to make sure they do not eat too much at one time and that the things they do eat are safe,” he said. “Be sure to check everything over and just toss anything that might look skeptical.”
Drivers should also be aware of an increase in pedestrians during the month of October when several Halloween festivities are planned. Be sure to slow down in residential areas and watch for children who may dart out from the street or from parked cars.
If you plan on handing out candy, it’s also a good idea to make sure your yard is safe and ready for children by removing any obstacles from your yard, porch or steps to avoid tripping or falling and make sure your front porch is well-lit for trick-or-treating hours.
COVID Safety Guidelines
Another safety precaution that has been top of mind for many parents for nearly two years is COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children 12 years and older are eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Just more than 56% of the total United States population is vaccinated. Children under age 12 are still not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine at this time.
The CDC has released some guidelines for trick-or-treaters, as well as for neighbors handing out candy. Families should travel in small groups and avoid crowding at one doorstep. Everyone should wash their hands before leaving the house to trick-or-treat and when they return home.
“It helps that Halloween is generally an outdoor-focused holiday and children can easily incorporate a fun mask with their costumes,” said Dr. Darwich.
People handing out candy should avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters. Give treats outdoors if possible, and wash hands before handing out candy. If you have not been vaccinated for COVID-19, or have an autoimmune disease, it’s recommended to leave candy out in a dish for trick-or-treaters to help themselves.
“If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or were exposed to someone who has tested positive, we would ask that you do not participate in in-person Halloween festivities,” said Dr. Darwich. “While we all look forward to getting back to traditional celebrations and events, it’s still important to continue practicing precautions so that we can do our best to stay healthy.”
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health and well-being of the communities it serves in Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 17 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including seven hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their unique best lives. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.
For more information, visit thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on social media. Members of the media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public and Media Relations Consultant at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.