Hallowe’en sure has changed a lot. When we were kids, Hallowe’en was a single day; now it’s expanded into pretty much the entire month of October, with fall festivals, haunted houses, corn mazes and other events filling up the weekends leading to the grand finale on the 31st.
You no longer have to pick between 5 or 10 costumes, but instead have literally thousands of options at your fingertips. Houses, which formerly just had jack-o-lanterns on their front steps are now totally tricked out in Hallowe’en décor, from orange and purple lights, to smoke machines to ghostly figures hanging from trees and grave markers in the yard. It’s really become quite the production. So, it should come as no surprise that the rules of the game with respect to safety have also changed. Here are some of the most notable ones:
Decorating pumpkins instead of carving them
While it was lost on our parents, the idea of arming a child with a knife and telling them to “have at it” with a large gourd is indeed a bit dangerous. For this reason, there’s been an explosion of creative ideas on Pinterest for decorating pumpkins. Simply search “pumpkin decorating ideas” and you’ll be bombarded with photos of beautiful pumpkins decorated with paint, glitter, gems, ribbon – you name it!
Using glow sticks, reflective tape and flashlights
Remember those glow sticks that you’d dance around with at raves in high school, college and university? Parents now routinely purchase these in bracelet and necklace form to put on their children as they head out trick or treating. Children are also now plastered in reflective tape and equipped with flashlights to ensure that motorists will see them in the distance.
Handing out non-candy treats
Back in our day, if a neighbor dared to give you a non-candy item (like an apple or a pencil), it was grounds for a “trick” since there was no “treat”. Such a move might result in your jack-o-lantern being smashed or, worse, the toilet-papering of your home. These days, it’s a common occurrence (and acceptable) for homes to give out stickers, temporary tattoos, pencils and erasers. The rise in nut, dairy and gluten allergies, along with health and food safety concerns have led many parents to play it safe with non-candy options.
Selecting costumes that allow children to see out of them
Visibility was a secondary concern back in our day. You relied on your friends or parents to steer you to the next house on the block. Your primary concern was that your costume looked awesome. Now, it’s often recommended that children avoid dressing in masks and floppy hat, both of which could make it difficult for the child to see. Instead, it’s recommended that you use make-up (natural, organic, and hypo-allergenic of course) so that vision isn’t compromised.
Have a safe and fun Hallowe’en season!