Posted by Marianne Frederick
It’s two weeks until Halloween. If you’re like me, you don’t even begin to think about Halloween costumes until about 3 days beforehand. However, this year, I vow to do better: to plan ahead and help choose the safest possible costumes.
Whether you are making or buying the Halloween costume, parents should consider what else will be on the Halloween scene. Certainly, pumpkins, sometimes with candles in them, otherwise known as jack-o’-lanterns, will be glowing on doorsteps and on front porches. So parents will want to think about “flame resistant” costumes. Many costumes use glitter, tinsel, feathers, glue, cardboard and other materials that are extremely flammable. So how to make children’s costumes less flammable?
Parents Magazine suggests a safer choice for costume fabric would be to use synthetic, flame resistant material rather than cotton, as flames can travel quickly along woven cotton. Also, capes and costumes that drape and drag the ground are not the safest choice for flammability or mobility. Keep in mind that it’s difficult for a child to see what a cape could brush against if a child is wearing any kind of mask. For safety’s sake, the less fabric involved in your child’s Halloween costume, the better; in the best case, your child’s Halloween costume should be well fitted to him or her.
To avoid, Halloween fall injuries, make sure children can see their feet, and that their ability to walk or run is not impeded by clumsy or over-sized shoes, or costumes that are too long. Accessories, like purses with long shoulder straps, belts, toy swords, wings, etc., should not cause children to lose their balance or trip and fall.
If they are wearing a mask, it should not impede their ability to see or breathe. If the mask is made of rubber or plastic, try the mask on yourself and see if you can breathe easily, if not, cut a bigger hole for easy breathing–or ditch the mask!
One more important safe-costume caution is to make sure children wear costumes which make them visible at night–Some day-glow paint, bright orange fabric or even runner’s arm-band strobe lights are all things which brighten up a costume.
Lastly, as we do every year, we suggest, that parents stay in close proximity–go with your young child on Halloween, and take a flashlight along. You’ll have a lot of fun watching them, and you’ll be there if they need you. Halloween is exciting and young children can tire easily. It’s always good to have parents and caregivers on hand to keep track of the ghosts, goblins and princesses… not to mention the dragons and mummies!