Halloween is one of our favorite times of the year. However, we should take some basic steps in order to help ensure that our little ghouls and goblins are safe.
The first step in safety is having a plan for all ages of those enjoying Halloween and communicating this plan with your children. For those children that go trick or treating without you, a good plan should include a curfew and check-in time. A cell phone is a great tool for keeping in contact with your child and they should know to dial 911 for an emergency, especially if they are venturing into an unknown neighborhood.
Purchase only costumes, wigs and props that are labeled “flame retardant.” When creating a costume, choose materials that won’t easily ignite if in contact with heat or flame. Try to avoid billowing or long trailing features that can contact heat sources easier.
Plan the props that you use in your home. Dried flowers, corn stalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations away from flames, light bulbs and heaters. Be careful using candles. Use long fireplace matches when lighting jack-o’-lanterns. Keep the lit pumpkins away from combustible materials like curtains. Try using safety lights to illuminate the pumpkins. Use safety lights to decorate your yard and front entryway. Glow sticks are a cheap alternative for open flame and can be purchased at most hardware stores.
Instruct your children to stay away from open flames and other heat sources. Be sure that your children know how to stop-drop-and-roll (stop immediately, drop to the ground covering your face with your hands, and roll over and over to extinguish the flames).
Consider providing your children with a flash light as part of their costume and lighting to protect from trip hazards.
Halloween night is only once a year. By taking a few safety steps as part of your safety plan, we can help ensure a fun and safe evening.
Alex Rangel is a captain with the Phoenix Fire Department’s Public Affairs Bureau.