On Halloween night, four times more children are hit by cars than on any other night of the year [source: CDC].
Of course, there are other, less dire costume-related problems to address. If you've ever tripped, slipped or tipped over wearing a brand new pair of shoes, you've encountered one of those problems. Imagine millions of somewhat-less-steady kids running around in whole outfits they've never worn before -- outfits that may not even fit right. And they're doing it in the dark.
Getting into costume can mean wearing unfamiliar clothing, shoes, makeup and possibly even a different eye color. Some people have allergic reactions to face paint; others wear dark colors that make them blend in with the dark scenery; and cheap, over-the-counter contact lenses aren't the best things to put in your eyes. But you don't have to give up playing dress-up. For a safer Halloween costume, try following some simple rules.
Safe costumes are:
- Highly visible: Choose light colors and add reflective strips to arms, legs, back and shoes for added visibility at night. If you do go with a dark costume, always add those strips so cars can see you.
- Properly sized: Make sure costumes are the right length and overall size so they don't impede walking. Masks should not cover eyes, ears, nostrils or mouth, so trick-or-treaters can see and hear cars and breathe easily.
- Flame-retardant: On a night when jack-o-lanterns abound, fire is a concern. Make sure costumes are made of flame-retardant material so if they do catch on fire, they won't burn quickly. Especially stay away from 100 percent cotton.
Some other things to consider:
- Makeup and face paint: Look for hypoallergenic products. Always apply a small amount to a small spot of skin to test for a bad reaction before applying all over.
- Contact lenses: It's best to avoid costume lenses unless running it by your doctor. Eye infections and other problems can result from putting something in your eye without guidance.
- Props and accessories: If swords or wands are part of the outfit, make sure they are dull, plastic and flexible. Even adults should avoid carrying sharp or blunt objects that could cause injury if they trip and fall.
Once you have the costumes under control, it's time to address the candy part of the night. Stomachaches are just the beginning.