Halloween is not as big in South Africa as it is in other countries, but it is always a good excuse to dress your kiddies up in cute costumes for great photoshoots while they are still young enough not to object.
Many complexes or housing estates invite residents to participate in a fun Halloween night, where children can trick-or-treat in a protected and controlled environment.
Our favourite trick-or-treating tips when it comes to keeping your child happy and safe:
- Get a housing map from the complex or estate’s body corporate and plan your child’s route according to the houses that have agreed to participate.
- If you live in a suburb, communicate with your neighbours in the street and have a safe area marked off by adults that the neighbourhood children can walk around.“Make sure that their costumes fit well and are flame-resistant, and rather use face paint than masks, which can obscure their vision.”
- Always go with your children (and their friends) to keep an eye on them, or have another trusted adult supervise them. If your group of children is larger than three or four, have another adult join you to ensure that every child can be watched.
- Make sure that their costumes fit well and are flame-resistant, and rather use face paint than masks, which can obscure their vision. Be sure to test the face paint beforehand to prevent any allergic reactions on the night.
- If your child has sensory issues, be sure to try out costume ideas long before the night until you find one that they can tolerate (not too scratchy or too itchy). Also, can your sensitive child be around that many children at one time? Do a sensory inventory when it comes to sight, sound and touch. These are important things to be considered to prepare for a fun-filled night of trick-or-treating.
- If you’re going to go all out and decorate your home and garden with jack-o-lanterns, make sure that only an adult carves the pumpkin. Children can scoop out the pulp and help put a candle inside. Adults must light the candles and be sure to keep these lit lanterns at a safe height and distance from wandering children to prevent any fires.
- The children should not carry cell phones to prevent any of them being “left behind”. Adults can capture the moments on their phones.
- It is a good idea to put reflective tape at the top and bottom of their costumes.
- Use a flashlight to light the way – glow sticks work equally well and add to the mood.
- Explain to your party that no one may eat any sweets until the trick-or-treating is over and you have checked everything.
- At the end of the night, first check the sweets carefully. Is the wrapping intact and are the sweets age-appropriate? You don’t want any pinholes that can compromise the safety of the sweet or any choking hazards. Chuck out any suspicious sweets that may appear old and are discoloured.
- Once you’re happy with the loot, divvy up the sweets at the end of the night among the group and ensure that they don’t eat them all at once.
Halloween is one night in the year that parents can get away with dressing up both themselves and their children in weird and wonderful costumes (and eating sweets) without any judgement. Make your little one’s trick-or-treating experience memorable for all the right reasons and bring them home safe and satisfied.
Click here for great ideas on DIY Halloween costumes for kids.