Truly, I’m distracted this Halloween. I think more than anything else, we should take the time (and money) today to donate to the Red Cross. Then put the costumes together. The destruction and suffering from hurricane-storm Sandy are at the forefront of our thoughts as families. For some communities, Halloween is postponed or delayed. It’s just a holiday, of course, but a big one for our children. It’s one holiday where children take center stage and create lasting memories. So I don’t want to de-value this, either — celebration is a really important part of our lives.

For those of us able to celebrate Halloween today, here’s some quick reminders. Fortunately, Halloween injuries are not all that common. A 2010 report found that there were more trips to the ER from sports injuries on Halloween than holiday ones. That being said, here are some tips I’ve read that are worth repeating.

  1. Sidewalks: On Halloween I worry most about injuries for children while walking around (getting hit by a car, tripping on a costume, or falling down), not razor blades in apples. Children are injured more as pedestrians on Halloween than from anything else the holiday inspires. When you set out with (or without) your children tonight, think about maximizing their safety on the sidewalk and on the street. Remind your kids never to believe that they are the right of way on the street. Yielding has great power and protection. Stay on sidewalks whenever you can.
  2. Be Seen: This is fairly self-evident but…..bring your cell phone, a light stick and/or a flashlight when trick-or-treating. Be seen and reachable when necessary. And remind teens about getting around while they are texting. Recent data finds teens are having more and more pedestrian injuries (up 25%), partly due to texting and walking. When distracted, they’re far more likely to get struck by a car.
  3. Trick-or-Treating Alone? I don’t think teens should be out alone tonight until age 13 or older. If you want to use a pediatrician as back-up when discussing trick-or-treating, feel free  to use me as back-up.  I may be in the minority with this opinion. Here’s a nice Safe Kids Report on Halloween traditions and beliefs. For any tween/teen, you should meticulously review the game plan regardless of who is there. Make sure to remind those teens about car safety. Look both ways, stop texting…
  4. Candy: although our kids accumulate pounds of candy, much can go uneaten. I just can’t get too excited about one day of candy splurging. However, one month is something to talk about. Make a plan and a pact with your children about what you are going to do with remaining candy come November 1st.  Avoid the conflict in the upcoming days. Consider donating candy tomorrow and bring pounds of it to work, too.
  5. Family Dinner: Eat dinner early together as a family prior to heading out into the night. You never know, it may be your BPOD (best part of day).