Baby’s First All Hallows’ Eve
Pumpkins, costumes, and candy. Halloween is a fun time of year for kids of all ages, but as you gear up for your baby’s or toddler’s first Halloween, keep these safety tips in mind.
To carve or not? When your family sits down to carve your pumpkin, never allow young kids to handle sharp objects. Let adults do the carving. And, instead of the traditional candle, consider lighting your jack o’ lantern with an LED light or glow stick. If you do use a candle, keep the pumpkin out of reach of curious hands. Also, instead of carving, you may want to use stickers or nontoxic paint to decorate your pumpkin.
Fancy duds. When choosing a Halloween costume for your little one, pick something that is comfortable, weather appropriate, and brightly colored (for better visibility). If you are a parent of a walker, pick a costume that is short enough to not cause baby to trip and fall. Masks limit visibility and are uncomfortable for babies; face paint may be a better option.
Candy quest. When you venture out to do some trick-or-treating, have your child carry a flashlight or wear a glow stick. Always travel with an adult and stay together. Consider using a stroller, wagon, or harness to contain your child, or hold hands at all times as you walk. Use care to stay on sidewalks and only cross at street corners and crosswalks. It is best to visit homes where you know the residents, but if you do go to strangers’ homes, only approach if the porch light is on. Consider attending a fall festival or trunk-or-treat instead of going door-to-door in a neighborhood. (See “Treats & Freaks” on page 26 for some local options.)
Safe sweets. Most Halloween candy is a choking hazard for small kids. So when you get home, carefully sort through the treat bag and remove anything unsafe such as hard candy, taffy, suckers, small toys, and popcorn. Discard any homemade items unless they were received from a trusted source. Soft chocolates and crackers are usually okay for older babies to try. Make sure to thoroughly clean their teeth after their treats. Some charities like Operation Gratitude will accept donated Halloween candy and send it to soldiers overseas. See tinyurl.com/hwpdhy2 for more ideas with what to do with your load.
Fear factor. Many people enjoy putting up spooky decorations or wearing creepy costumes. These things can seem frighteningly realistic to a small child. If kids become scared, cut the night short and go home. Keep it simple on your first (or second) Halloween. Go out early and only visit a few houses of friends and family you know.
Sarah Lyons is a freelance writer whose work has been featured in KC Parent and KC Baby magazines.