By Ryan Lang, Red Cross board member and volunteer
Spooky season is here and soon our streets will be lined with trick-or-treaters looking for Halloween handouts. With that in mind, the American Red Cross has compiled a list of tips for parents to help keep kids safe while enjoying the holiday, especially as we continue to navigate the pandemic.
- Make sure trick-or-treaters can see and be seen. Give kids a flashlight to light their way and consider adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
- Plan the trick-or-treat route in advance and make sure adults know where their children are going. A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children door-to-door.
- It’s not only vampires and monsters people have to look out for. Be cautious around animals, especially dogs.
- Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. Avoid running. Look both ways before crossing the street, and cross only at the corner. Don’t cross between parked cars.
- Only visit homes that have a porch light on, and never go inside.
- Make sure a grown-up checks the goodies before eating. Make sure to remove loose candy, open packages and choking hazards. Discard any items with brand names that you are not familiar with.
- Make your cloth mask part of your costume. A costume mask is not a safe substitute for a cloth mask. Avoid wearing a costume mask over a cloth mask as it can make breathing difficult.
- Plan outdoor activities and avoid indoor events where the risk of virus transmission is higher.
- Bring hand sanitizer with you while trick-or-treating and use it after touching objects or other people. Wash your hands when you get home.
- Avoid trick-or-treating in large groups, and social distance from others around the neighborhood.
For those planning to welcome trick-or-treaters to their homes, follow these safety steps:
- Give out treats outdoors, if possible.
- Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters by setting up an area with individually bagged treats for kids to take. Wash your hands before handling treats.
- Maintain social distancing and wear a cloth mask.
- Light the area well so young visitors can see.
- Sweep leaves from your sidewalks and steps. Clear your porch or front yard of obstacles someone could trip over.
Trick or treat dates and times vary; in Northeast Ohio, check here and in Northwest Ohio, here. You can also visit your city’s website for specific information.
Download the free Red Cross First Aid app for instant access to expert advice in case your ghost, goblin or superhero has a mishap. Use the Emergency app for weather alerts and to let others know you are safe if severe weather occurs. Find these and all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.