This post was originally shared October 2019.
The Halloween season can be great fun for the entire family- parties, costumes, decorating, and the anticipation of Halloween night. Here are some reminders to help keep the experience safe for everybody involved.
Use Flame-Resistant Costumes And Materials
The Halloween season is often accompanied by candles, lanterns, among other fire sources. By nature, children aren’t as aware of their surroundings as adults. To help keep children protected, choose materials for their costumes and for decor (like tablecloths), that are flame resistant. Polyester and nylon are both flame-resistant materials, for example. With that, choose a costume that is made of one material. Since different materials react differently to fire, having a variety can potentially even fuel a fire if the garment is exposed to flame. Better yet, use flame less candles and modify decor if children will be present, to avoid the danger altogether.
Layer Under The Costume
Layering not only keeps children warm if the family heads out trick or treating during the cooler evening hours, but in the event that a costume is exposed to fire, a layer of clothing between the costume and the child’s skin can prevent severe injury. Costumes are also not subjected to the same stringent fire resistant requirements as children’s clothing, as they are often categorized as toys rather than clothing. An option is to get creative with clothes the kids already have. Primary, a kids clothing company that focuses on simple, high quality, basic kids clothes, has fantastic no-sew ideas- you can find them here.
A few creative ideas from Primary:
Stay Visible and Illuminate Your Way
If you’ve ever driven through a neighborhood packed with children trick or treating, you know that not all costumes are as visible as others. Add on the distraction of lots of activity, tinted windows on vehicles, and children that out of sheer excitement may dart out into the road, visibility is key to keep everybody safe. Layering on glow-stick bracelets, anklets, connecting several glow sticks as a belt, “crown,” etc., are all options for ensuring that your child will be visible while out and about.
Adults and older children can also carry flashlights to help maintain visibility and illuminate potential tripping hazards along the path like potholes, curbs, and steps.
Avoid Anything Around The Throat
Improperly fitting capes can pose a tripping and strangulation risk. Of course, omitting them can spoil a superhero costume, so maintain the cape at a safe length to avoid your caped crusader from tripping. Anything that is tight around the neck should also be avoided to prevent a strangulation risk- necklaces, ties for masks, etc. It might require modifying a costume to make it more safe, but a little adjustment can go a long way in making the costume safer, and giving you peace of mind.
Be Cautious About What Is Applied To The Skin
Costume makeup, fake blood, and adhesives are all common sources of allergic reactions and skin irritation. Costume face paints are not scrutinized as makeup or other personal care items (like lotions and sunscreen). Recent studies also showed that many face paints contain lead, nickel, chromium, and other chemicals that can cause irritation and other health concerns. Color additives are also not approved by the FDA, leaving it up in the air if they are safe. Adhesives can contain chemicals that irritate the skin, and can even react to the materials of the costume. The best bet? Look for natural makeups (like Pure Poppett or Piggy Paint Nail Polish) that are safe for kids, or purchase inexpensive makeup from a drugstore because you will know that it passed required testing. Try patch-testing the product before using a larger amount. A small amount on the wrist, for example, may reveal a sensitivity and prevent the discomfort and danger from being a more wide-spread issue. Adhesives that are for theater use are also deemed safe, but if in doubt, skip it.
Watch For Small Parts
Quality isn’t exactly a word that comes to mind when you see the Halloween costumes that are in store. Being that most costumes are meant to be disposable after one use, many companies don’t work to flawlessly assemble costumes. Small parts can be a choking hazard for small children and animals. Check that small pieces (like jewels, decals, buttons, etc.), are securely fastened and reapply them with a secure, safe adhesive, if necessary. With modifications here and there, maybe you can even get another year out of the costume!
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