We love Halloween. Kids are at their cutest, if slightly sugar-crazed, there’s plenty going on in Chicagoland, and it’s still warm enough to enjoy it (here’s hoping, anyway!). Read on for fresh costume ideas, stay-safe tips, the region’s hottest happenings, recipes and more.
Whether a child plans to transform into an unruly ghost or anadventure-seeking hobbit on Halloween, parents can help kids staysafe.
The safest way to celebrate Halloween is to take part in acommunity, church or school-sponsored event, says Marcel Bright,news affairs officer with the Chicago Police Department. Anytrick-or-treating outside should be done during daylight hours, hesays.
Parents should accompany children age 13 and under, suggestsAshley Gold, director of Safe Kids Chicago at Children’s Memorial
Hospital. Older children don’t need adult supervision, she says,
but should go out with peers. Drivers are more likely to spot a
large group and teens can look out for one another.
Bright recommends light-colored costumes or reflectors ondark-colored costumes to increase visibility. Kids should stay inwell-lit neighborhoods they know, says Gold, and bring aflashlight. Walk on sidewalks, staying off streets and out ofalleys. Cross streets only at corners, crosswalks andintersections, and never cross between parked cars.
“The biggest issues we see are pedestrian-related injuries,”Gold says. Motorists should also be aware of the possibility ofyoungsters darting into traffic.
Even picking appropriate costumes, shoes and masks helps, saysGold. Costumes should be short and snug. “Big, baggy sleeves andbillowy capes and shirts can cause kids to trip or catch fire ifthey brush up against jack-o’-lanterns or porches with candleflames,” Gold says. Kids should wear shoes that fit and costumeprops should be made of flexible plastic.
Parents should also ensure that a mask’s eye holes are wideenough to see through, and that the mask fits properly so that itdoesn’t slip and block vision. Ultimately, face painting isbest.
When it comes to candy, children should accept only sealed orwrapped treats, and parents should check everything before allowingkids to dig in, Bright says. Do not eat treats along the way.
Although Bright says there is no surge in child abductions onHalloween, he advises children to never enter abandoned buildings,deserted areas or places out of public view. They should neverenter or accept treats from a stranger’s car.
Kids can help protect themselves too, says Joe Connelly, centerdirector of Kidpower Chicago, a chapter of a national
program aimed at preventing violence and building self-esteem.
Connelly recommends kids keep in mind three general rules: Be aware
of what is going on around you; maintain a safe distance-at least
two arms’-lengths away-from strangers; and if you feel unsafe, get
On Halloween, “under no circumstances should children entersomeone’s house,” Connelly says. Even if an adult is accompanyingthe child, “it sets a bad precedent.”
If parents are worried about the risk of sexual predators, theycan log onto the Internet to learn of the registered sex offendersliving in their neighborhood. In Chicago, sex offenders arerequired by law to register, Bright says.
“If you know that there’s a registered sex offender living inyour neighborhood,” Gold says, “certainly don’t let your child gotrick-or-treating at their house.’
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- 12 Do-It-Yourself costumes
- Costumes on a dime for mom and dad
Don’t want to venture out and about? No problem. Make your own fun at home:
- Create your own ghost story as a family
- Craft | 6-step Scarecrow
- 9 Books to read with your kids this Halloween
Family Activities at Home