Costume safety on Halloween should be the first thing to consider when it comes to costume selection for this very popular and fun holiday. Every year as Halloween approaches, children, teens and adults ask themselves what character they want to “be” for Halloween. Once they’ve made their decision, they excitedly start planning their costumes. But during all the craziness and hurried activity that surrounds choosing just the right costume and getting ready for the big day, important costume safety considerations are often overlooked.
Often a great deal of time is devoted to finding or putting together a costume that is unique, creative, and has a certain “wow” factor. But what is often neglected is the costume’s “safety” factor. A Halloween costume can have all the uniqueness and fun features anyone would love, but at the same time it can also contain a number of obvious, and not so obvious safety hazards.
As a result, too often a costume ends up being the cause of accidents and sad memories, rather than what it should be – the source of happy memories of a fun time. That’s why the number one costume factor to pay attention to, even before the “wow” factor, is the “safety factor”. Put safety first. After that, anything goes!
To avoid and eliminate common costume hazards on Halloween or anytime, here are some important costume safety guidelines to follow before anyone heads out the door:
1. Be sure the costume is not a fire hazard:
* All costumes and costume accessories should be labeled “flame resistant”. This label doesn’t mean that the material won’t burn – but it does mean that it will resist burning, and that if it does start to burn it will extinguish fast.
* DO NOT walk around with or stand near lighted candles or open flames!
2. Be sure the costume protects against the elements:
* For chilly weather, especially if the costume material is somewhat thin, add an extra layer or two underneath, such as a long-sleeved t-shirt, and long johns.
* Head, face, hands, ears and feet can be especially susceptible to the cold. If the forecast is for chilly temperatures, mist, sleet or snow, add a hat, scarf, ear muffs, warm gloves, and/or an extra pair of socks. These “just in case” extra items can be stashed at the bottom of the Trick or Treat bag and pulled out when needed.
3. Be sure the costume won’t trip, entangle, cut, stab, or strangle the wearer!
* Keep all parts of the costume short enough so that they don’t become tripping hazards.
* Be sure there’s no excess fabric, loose scarves, or dangling ties, strings or jewelry that could easily get caught in a car door, on bushes, or on anything that could impede natural movement or be the cause of an accidental strangling.
* Make sure all accessories, like knives, swords, etc. are smooth-edged, soft, and flexible:
* Wear sturdy, low-heeled, non-skid shoes.
4. Be sure the costume does not block vision; add some vision aids:
* If the costume includes a mask, have the wearer do a test run to be sure the eye holes don’t block their peripheral vision. If they do, cut the eye holes wider until they don’t. And be sure that the mask fits securely.
* Consider using face paint or hypoallergenic makeup for a fun alternative to a mask.
* Instead of carrying a glow-stick, opt for an easy to hold and use flashlight, with fully charged batteries and a nice bright light. A flashlight is the perfect safety tool to light the path ahead.
5. Be sure the costume is easily visible:
* When venturing forth on dark and spooky Halloween nights or late afternoons that might be misty, foggy or snowy, lighter colored costumes are easier for motorists and parents to see than dark ones. But whether the costume is light or dark, create extra visibility by adding reflective tape or striping to the front and back of the costume, and even to Trick or Treat bags and some accessories.
* See and be seen in a light up Halloween costume. Besides adding an extra measure of visibility, they’re loads of fun! And this year there are lots of dazzlingly clever light up Halloween costumes to choose from.
So before you and yours put on your Halloween costumes, take a few extra minutes to be sure they pass the “Safety First” inspection test. If they do, you’ll be ready to step out for a memorable, fun and above all safe Halloween!