Here's What You Need to Know When Choosing a Safe Halloween Costume for Your Little Ghouls
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Here's What You Need to Know When Choosing a Safe Halloween Costume for Your Little Ghouls

Don't be the parent who will focus on price and inadvertently overlook safety when you are out shopping for Halloween costumes this year

October 4, 2021

The leaves are changing and the days are getting shorter. That means Halloween is just around the corner! Halloween is the one time of year when kids get to feast on candy and dress up as spooky ghouls or their favorite TV characters. But many parents have questions about costume safety when they're shopping for their children. Do you know what to look for when choosing a safe Halloween costume?

Halloween Masks

Children love masks. But masks can obstruct visibility and make it difficult for children to breath, especially if it doesn't fit properly. Instead of a bulk mask, opt for creative makeup. When you get creative with makeup, children get excited for this alternative. If your children do wear a mask, make sure vision isn't obstructed and have them remove it while crossing the street. You don't want the little ones to fall, especially in the middle of the street.

Choosing Safe Makeup

Makeup is a great alternative to obstructive masks, but makeup may present its own hazards. Make sure your makeup is coming from a reputable source, not just the first website that pops up in online search results. Some makeups sold at pop-up stands or online can come untrusted sources and may contain hazardous materials, such as lead. Always make sure your child isn't allergic or sensitive to anything in the makeup before applying in large quantities. And always check the expiration date.

Choosing costumes for flame resistance

All costumes and accessories, such as wigs, beards and wings, must meet federal flammability requirements. But that doesn't mean they won't burn. All textiles can burn (or melt) and should be kept away from flames. Parents should look for costumes made from synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester because these materials are less likely to ignite, will resist burning, and will extinguish more quickly if they do ignite.

Some costume labels say "flame resistant." Some say "keep away from flames." Some say nothing at all. The warning label is advice provided by the manufacturer and not necessarily an indication of flammability.

Costumes should fit

It's obvious that a Halloween costume should fit, right? Well, some parents will allow children to wear costumes this year that are either too big or too small. They should fit properly and be comfortable for your child to wear. A costume that is too loose can pose a trip hazard, but a costume that is too tight can also restrict movement and cause a child to trip. Don't forget about oversized shows, such as with clown costumes, that may fit but may still be awkward. Capes should never hang close to the ground and should detach easily from your child if it gets caught in something.

Think of Visibility

You're a good driver, right? Of course! But not every driver out there pays attention like you or has headlights that properly illuminate the road ahead. So when you're choosing a costume and accessories, think about the child's visibility to those drivers. Brighter costumes are usually safer than dark or black costumes, which can be difficult to see even when illuminated by headlights.

You can get creative with the costume by adding things that bring a bit of flare and sparkle. Consider adding reflective tape to your child's costume and accessories. If your child doesn't like the idea of reflective tape, try reflective stars, reflective moons or other reflective shapes that tie into the costume. When you were a child, didn't you like glow sticks? Integrate a few glow sticks into the costume and into the child's candy bag.

Use Sense about accessories

Some accessories, such as swords, wands and broomsticks, can present unanticipated hazards depending upon the age of the child, so use some sense. If the child is young, you probably don't want these types of accessories. Even still, having accessories while wandering the neighborhood can present other challenges. Your child is already distracted by the night and could become distracted while trying to keep the accessory on-hand. Don't presume that two children with swords won't have a sword fight while crossing the street. Leave these items home.

If your child does carry these accessories, whether at home, at a party or while out canvassing for candy, make sure there are no sharp edges or that the child won't be impaled if he/she were to fall on it. Always opt for soft and flexible accessories, when practical.

Make sure phones are easy to reach

It's not the same as it was when we went out for the night. Children these days have cell phones with them at all times. So make sure that the child's phone is easy to reach in case a call home is needed. Is there a pocket within easy reach? Are there any pockets on the costume at all? If not, look at ways you can have your child carry the phone that prevent it from falling but can still be reached quickly.

Hello. My Name is...

So this really doesn't have to do with choosing a costume, but it's important when putting your costume together. We know that your child shouldn't be wearing a name tag while wandering around, but what happens if you are out with your little ones and become separated? Consider placing a name and phone number on the inside of the child's costume to help you reunite if you become separated or if your older child is out alone. It will also help you to become notified if your older child is out alone and suffers an emergency that prevents speaking.