A number of years ago, one of my children wanted to be a robot for Halloween. We assembled a wonderful costume for him out of cardboard boxes and flex tubing which had been decorated with silver spray paint. From his cardboard helmet to his robot shoes, he looked like the real deal.
Unfortunately it didn’t occur to any of us that the poor kid couldn’t see where he was headed. Come Halloween, we watched him careening down the sidewalk with his younger brother only to return five minutes later, with a suit that had been smashed to bits after a tumble on a neighbor’s front porch. In our determination to create the perfect costume, we neglected to think about safety.
So what makes a safe Halloween costume?
Whether making your own Halloween costume or buying one that’s already made, there are some basic things to be mindful of where safety is concerned.
A Halloween costume shouldn’t restrict vision or movement. While those full face mask are piles of fun, a person’s vision is terribly restricted in this kind of a get-up, making it completely unsafe for Trick or Treating. Our little imps will be walking down dark sidewalks, roadsides, or across streets, scampering through unfamiliar yards and obstacles, and climbing porches. Their costumes and head wear must not prevent them from walking or climbing safely, or obstructing their vision when they cross the streets and head into neighbors yards.
Capes and dresses should be the proper length and not trailing behind where they can be stepped on. Shoes should be properly laced and the correct size. Masks or shrouds should not be worn since they do restrict peripheral vision; a much safer alternative is to use Halloween face makeup instead. Props, hats and other accessories, such as swords and pitch forks should be made of plastic and the right size for their height.
A proper fit isn’t the only thing that’s important, the Halloween costume must also be visible at night. Since the children will be walking in and across the streets, motorists must be able to see those costumes at night. Choose Halloween costumes with light or bright colors and reflective tape worked into the design. If your child is wearing something dark, such as a ninja costume or a witch, do incorporate reflective stars or planets onto the costume and hat. A flashlight or lantern will also make the child more visible to passing motorists.
A final point to remember when making that Halloween costume, is that it must be flame resistant. Many porches are decorated with luminaries and glowing Jack O’Lanterns which can ignite a trailing cape. Do choose fabrics that are flame resistant, and avoid costumes with long fluttering capes.
Clear vision, proper fit, non flammable, and highly visible are the safety issues to watch for when outfitting your child for Halloween. Following these basic safety tips, should help make your child’s Trick or Treating a safe experience.