Thursday, October 18, 2012

Halloween Costumes- partnering safety and warmth with fun

Halloween is usually pretty spooky, but what many don’t realize is how frightfully dangerous the wrong costume can be. To help prevent your Halloween adventures from taking a turn down Elm Street, I spoke with Butch Rhoderick, Meritus Health’s head of security. He recommends following these simple guidelines:

  • Wear bright costumes. Mr. Rhoderick said, “The best thing is to avoid dark clothing – it’s tough to see! Wear bright costumes and carry flashlights.” Since Halloween trick-or-treating and parties frequently occur at dusk, or later, make sure that you and your children are visible to each other and motorists. 
  • Use light. This overlaps a bit with our first tip, but the point is not to be invisible! Everyone in your group should carry a flashlight. To dress up safety precautions such as flashlights, you can purchase covers that look like pumpkins to make flashlights more decorative. Mr. Rhoderick also noted that parents should wear safety reflective vests so someone in the group stands out. Reflective tape and glow sticks are other ways to make sure everyone is visible. 
  • Avoid fire. When selecting a costume, make sure to check the labels and pick one that is fire resistant. Many homeowners have transitioned to using glow sticks or battery-operated candles in their pumpkins and other decorations, but others still use traditional candles. Long costumes, especially, have a high risk of catching on fire as they sweep near low lying candle flames. 
  • Walk test. There’s something special about seeing an adorable princess asking for candy, but what’s definitely not so cute is for her to be tripping and falling the whole evening. Make sure to test costumes by trying them on beforehand. If they are too long, the shoes are too big, heels are too high or the whole thing is just too heavy for your young child to wear, consider a different option. Any costume that prevents the wearer from comfortably walking and going up and down stairs is an unsafe choice. 
  • Fake is okay. What do daggers, swords, ninja stars and wands all have in common? Pointy edges. Not only are these accessories potentially dangerous to other children, but if the child carrying the item were to fall, they could easily wound themselves. If a traditionally harmful accessory is wanted to take that pirate costume to the next level, buy or make them out of soft and safe materials such as cardboard or foam. 
  • Consider the weather. In our area, the weather is often unpredictable. Sometimes Halloween night is unseasonably warm and other times it is frigid. Check your local weather forecast the day before and dress appropriately, no matter what costume you wear! If it ends up being a chilly night, don’t dress in a thin single-layer costume. 
All these items might seem like a lot to include in your Halloween celebration, but making sure everyone’s costumes are safe and warm is an ounce of prevention well spent. We hope that all our readers have a fun and wonderful Halloween dressed in a costume that only appears scary.

By: Sarah Koons

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