Choosing kids’ Halloween costumes can be fun for kids and parents, but it’s important to keep in mind some basic safety tips when buying or making a costume. Fact is, we are so often focused on the fun of Halloween, such as making yummy and spooky treats or putting festive Halloween decorations in and around the house, that we sometimes forget to pay as much attention to Halloween safety, particularly safety in regard to costumes.
By keeping a few safety tips in mind, parents can make Halloween safe as well as fun for kids. Sure, it’s important to get the perfect, adorable, awesome costume for your child for Halloween. But whether your child chooses to be a ninja, fairy princess, or superhero, he or she can stay safe while having a blast. Here are some important points to remember when purchasing or making kids’ Halloween costumes:
- Look for a good fit. When it comes to choosing a Halloween costume for kids, one of the most important no-no’s is putting your child in something that’s too big or loose for her. A costume that’s too long can cause her to trip. Flowing, billowy costumes can easily snag on objects and other people, and can be potentially very dangerous around open flames, such as candles, which are very commonly used around Halloween. The best way to keep your child safe: Choose a costume that fits snugly and is the right length for her height.
- Choose flame-resistant materials. Check the label to make sure that the costume is made out of flame resistant materials. Since your child is likely to be near candles, lanterns, and other decorative flames when he goes to Halloween parties or is out trick-or-treating, this safety tips is a must.
- Keep the neck area clear. Avoid anything that could pose a strangulation hazard, such as costumes that are too tight round the neck or have cords or sashes that go around the neck. Don’t let her wear jewelry that could get tangled around her neck.
- Skip the capes. In the movie The Incredibles, one of the characters, a pint-sized superhero costume designer, talks about the dangers of capes. It was a funny bit, but it made a good point: Capes can pose strangulation risks, and could get caught on something or cause a child to trip.
- Use masks cautiously. If you allow your child to have a mask, make sure he only wears it for photos or when he is not walking. Many masks can obstruct a child’s vision, and could pose a danger, especially when it’s dark at night. When choosing a mask, make sure it fits snugly on your child’s face so that it doesn’t slip (but not tightly around the neck) and has large holes around the eyes. Also check to make sure that he can breathe comfortably while wearing the mask.
- Read face paint labels. A great alternative to masks is face paint. But make sure you read labels carefully and choose a face paint that is FDA-approved and meant for use on skin (non-toxic doesn’t necessarily means it’s safe for use on the face). For more information, read “Top 10 Safety Tips for Face Painting.”
- Choose accessories carefully. It goes without saying that any Halloween costume accessories such as swords or knives should be flexible and soft. Make sure that anything she carries, such as a wand, staff, or cane, has no sharp edges or points (one thing to consider is whether or not she would be hurt if she fell on it, for instance). Better yet, ditch the accessories so that she has a free hand to carry her candy and another to hold your hand, especially while crossing the street or while walking on crowded sidewalks.
- Think light and reflection. Tape or sew reflective materials onto your child’s costume to make sure that he can be seen in the dark. (If it’s chilly out and he is going to wear a jacket, put reflectors on the jacket as well.) You may also consider having him carry a flashlight or lantern or have one yourself while you hold his hand while trick-or-treating.
- Opt for safe footwear. Keep in mind that many of the dress-up shoes that come with kids’ costumes are not meant for outdoor use. Make sure shoes fit properly and are not the cheap, plastic kind that have no traction and could cause a child to slip and fall. If the footwear that comes with the costume is the boot-cover type that is made out of fabric or rubber and is meant to simply slip over your child’s regular shoes or sneakers, make sure it’s fitted securely so that it doesn’t slip off and pose a tripping hazard. Better yet, skip the footwear and just have your child wear his regular shoes when trick-or-treating outdoors.