From monster masks to devilish decorations, Halloween is a time to celebrate all things spooky in a fun and lighthearted way. That being said, it can also be a particularly triggering time for children in care. Many of the children we foster have experienced difficult backgrounds and real-life frightening situations, such as abuse, neglect or the death of a loved one. As a foster parent, you’ll want to ensure your foster child is able to enjoy the festivities as safely and stress-free as possible.
So, here are our top Halloween safety tips for birth children, foster children and teenagers.
Halloween safety tips for children
Stick to daylight hours
As the dark nights creep in, younger children may feel apprehensive about trick-or-treating in the dark. Especially with groups of kids wandering the streets in scary fancy dress, you don’t know what’s lurking around the corner! If you’re planning on trick-or-treating around your neighbourhood, head out early to avoid the dark. Plus, your children will get first choice on the sweets.
Choose face paint over masks
While they can be great to look at – and don’t make any mess – masks can restrict eyesight or make breathing uncomfortable. This could make your child panic while they’re trick-or-treating or attending a Halloween party. Face paint is a better alternative and just as effective – just test it out on their skin a few days before to make sure they don’t have a reaction to it.
Check their sweets first
It might be tempting for your children or foster child to want to munch on their collected candy on the way home from trick-or-treating, but it’s important you check over their stash first. Look for allergens, use-by dates, any open packaging and just do a general once over to make sure everything is safe to eat. Don’t make them wait too long though if you’re looking to avoid any tantrums!
Comfort over creativity
A lot of children love the drama of Halloween, including having the most outrageous costumes. However, if your birth or foster child has special needs, sensory issues or ADHD, there are some common Halloween accessories you might want to steer clear from. For example, capes can be a tripping hazard, while additional props can be a burden for kids who have fine motor challenges. Encourage their imagination and creativity, but always prioritise their comfort.
Plan your route
Before you head out on your trick-or-treating adventure, be sure to have a route mapped out. Choose roads that you know have street lamps to make your trip around the neighbourhood as safe as possible.
Be ‘house aware’
Look out for the signs that indicate if a house is welcoming trick-or-treaters. Not everybody does this, but it’s becoming more common for people to leave a pumpkin or some kind of decoration in the windowsill or doorstep to let people know it’s safe to knock. If a house has all the lights off, it’s best to move along to the next one. Not everybody agrees with trick-or-treating or celebrates Halloween, so the last thing you want is a grumpy neighbour making your children feel uncomfortable or scared.
Halloween safety tips for teenagers
Set boundaries and curfews
The two things that teenagers regularly rebel against! However, with it getting dark much earlier and the temperatures dropping, it’s important to set a realistic time they need to be home by. You may also need to make it clear about areas that are strictly off bounds. We know it’s not possible to monitor your children around the clock when they’re with friends, but hopefully by giving them their freedom, they’ll respect your rules.
Check in regularly
Agree with your foster teen to check in every couple of hours. This could be a quick text, photo update or a brief phone call. They might see it as intrusive, so gently explain to them why it’s important you know they are safe. For young people who have not received the proper love and care from their birth parents, it might be hard for them to understand why anybody would care about their wellbeing. This is a good opportunity to remind them how loved they are and that their safety is paramount to you.
Arrange safe transport
Many parents dread being the taxi service for their growing children, however at Halloween, it’s the safest thing to do. If you drive, make sure to drop them off and pick them up from an agreed destination, or alternatively, walk them to the bus stop or train station and meet them there at their curfew time.
Discuss the dangers openly
Drinking, drugs, vandalism and getting into trouble are unfortunately common activities for teenagers in care. Halloween presents a prime opportunity to indulge in some of these behaviours, as scary masks hide their identity and the dark minimises their chances of being caught. Be open, honest and frank about the consequences of engaging in such acts, and remind them that they’re on their way to a better, more secure future.
By following these safety measures, you and your family are sure to have a super safe and super awesome Halloween!
At Fosterplus, we do everything we can to make sure our foster children thrive and build towards a better future. Family is everything, so if you’d like to join our Fosterplus family, please get in touch today. Whether you’re new to fostering and would like to become a foster parent, or would like to know what Fosterplus could do for your current foster children, our friendly advisors will be happy to answer your questions.
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