4 Easy Steps to Safer and Healthier Halloween Fun in Houston
Halloween is coming up quickly Houston, TX, and one of the biggest questions parents have is “Is Halloween safe?” and “How can I trick-or-treat safely?” Every year social media and news platforms fill our minds with the possibility that there is something or someone out there making Halloween candy unsafe and even lethal. This article provides 4 sections of tips for trick-or-treating candy and treats.
What is Safe to Hand-Out to Trick-or-Treaters?
With so many health concerns, allergies, and dietary restrictions it can be stressful to know what to give to trick-or-treaters coming to the door. These are some simple but fun and creative ideas to make your house safer and candy-free:
- Halloween stickers or temporary tattoos. Let the kids pick and choose a design that is special to them.
- Mini cans of molding slime or clay. Slime is popular right now, Halloween themed and fun.
- Small party knick-knacks or toys. Like the stickers and temporary tattoos, but longer-lasting fun.
- Origami or other small DIY kits. Kids can learn a healthier hobby and maybe find a hidden talent.
- Bubbles. Kids of all ages love bubbles.
Remember that this is about having fun, so don’t be afraid to get creative.
Is it Safe to Go Trick-Or-Treating?
The answer to this question has a variant of answers, so, yes and no. To have the best trick-or-treating experience create a Halloween plan. This can be a schedule of events or a simple list of fun all you have planned for your kids. If you are going out trick-or-treating listed here are some safety tips:
- Very young children should never go out on their own. It would be the safest option to have all the trick-or-treaters go out with a parent or guardian with them.
- Go out as a group. If you have additional friends and family in the area, plan to stay together, especially if there are a lot of kids involved. This gives the neighborhoods extra adult supervision to discourage pranks, vandalism, and bullying. The kids get to be with their friends and parents know all is safe.
- Choose neighborhoods carefully. If possible go to neighborhoods where you either live or you know someone who does. You have an understanding of who can and cannot give your kids treats safely and a “home base” to retreat to once the kids start to get hot and tired.
- Look for lights. If a familiar neighborhood isn’t an option, choose streets and areas that are well lit and festively decorated. Porch lights and lit pumpkins indicate the house is ready for trick-or-treaters. If a house is dark or too scary for your child don’t force or encourage them to go to the door but move on to the next house.
- Line-of-Sight. Once at the door, make sure everyone knows to not go into or around the house, ever. Having a constant line of sight to the kids will make sure that they are getting safe treats from safe people and that can move on safely.
- Keep everyone hydrated. To keep the kids from snacking on their candy before they return home, make sure that you all eat a good meal before going out and bring back-up water in case kids or adults get thirsty.
What can I do instead of trick-or-treating?
If going trick-or-treating is not an option, there are ways to have a great night with the family. Houston’s local groups and businesses sponsor events that are family-friendly. Pick and choose from a plethora of activities that can be family-friendly or scary-creepy-fun. Check out the events calendar for more information.
There is also a fun idea called Trunk-or-treating. This can be a big or small organized event where family, friends, religious congregations, and other organized groups come together and create a safe and personalized Halloween event. Simply gather in one location, an empty parking lot works great, and set up a treat-route using your family’s car. By decorating the trunks, the kids can collect candy and treats that can be personalized and planned around a child’s allergies, dietary restrictions, which can include homemade goods and natural sweets like fruit or baked goods without worrying about strangers or harm to the children.
Should I Check for Dangerous Halloween Candy?
Once the night is over it is important to sort and check all the candy before anyone eats it.
- Check for opened or damaged candy. Whether it is on purpose or a flaw in packaging, if it has been opened, throw it away. Possible health dangers are not worth a piece of candy.
- Check the ingredients list. If not listed on the item, check the manufacturer’s site or google it to make sure it doesn’t have any of your child’s allergens or was made in a facility that handles the allergens.
- Check the candy with the kids. Have your kids help you go through the candy, that way they see what there is, but they also are there to create the candy rules for your home.
- Ration the candy. It is not the healthiest option to let the candy be eaten all at once. It should be rationed in small amounts or stored completely out of sight. Remember that from Halloween to New Year’s Eve there are many holidays that have a lot of different foods and sweets. So even though there might be complaining at first, the kids will also be excited to have their own candy back again in the new year. Make sure if you are giving the candy out that everyone is also eating healthy meals and brushing their teeth.
Conclusion: Halloween is a Holiday So Have Fun!
With all the stress that comes from worrying and planning for safety and no matter the beliefs, traditions, historical context, or family values, Halloween is a fun celebration so join in. The season is festive, colorful, delicious and almost here. For further tips, health guides and fun ideas check out our article “How to Stay Safe While Trick-or-Treating in Houston” or this great guide to Halloween Safety from the CDC.