With Halloween just over a week away, I thought it would be nice to take a moment to discuss the origin of this holiday and share some tips on how to make Halloween a safe and enjoyable evening.
According to the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center found at www.loc.gov/folklife/halloween.html, Halloween is said to have gotten its start in the pagan culture of Celtic Ireland. Called the festival of Samhain, people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off the evil spirits that were free to roam the earth on October 31st. After the Catholic movement entered Ireland, the church named November 1st All Saints Day, aka All Hallows to honor the Christian saints. October 31st was named All Hallow’s Eve and people continued to view this day as a time when the dead were allowed to roam with the living. This term was later shortened to the name we all use today-Halloween.
This holiday has kept some of its traditions from the original fall festival, but has become a commercial holiday where children and adults alike dress up in costumes and give away (and consume) massive amounts of candy. Below are some tips on how to keep your little ghosts and goblins safe while out Trick-Or-Treating.
-Use reflective tape on all costumes. Many costumes are dark in color and make it difficult for drivers to see Trick-Or-Treaters in the road, reflective tape helps make your child visible to night-time drivers.
-Travel in groups when Trick-Or-Treating. There are unsavory characters out there, and a child wandering around in the dark is an easy target for a predator. Always travel in groups as these real-life monsters are more likely to target a lone child rather than approach a group.
-Be sure any mask does not restrict vision. Costumes with masks that severely restrict vision are dangerous. You should forego that mask for makeup whenever possible. Many Halloween masks cut off peripheral vision, which is needed to assess one’s surroundings. With no peripheral vision a child may be more likely to trip over unseen objects, bump into a passerby, or potentially get hit by a car.
-Never eat unwrapped or open candy. Like I said earlier in this article, there are unsavory characters among us. Treats with easily resealable packaging or no packaging should be discarded as you never know if the item was tampered with in some way. We may not want to think that our neighbors would do anything to harm our children, but in today’s society you can never be too careful.
-Stay on the sidewalks at all times. This tip goes hand in hand with the restrictive nature of Halloween masks and drivers not being able to see pedestrians. Staying on sidewalks and only crossing the street at crosswalks when safe to do so will minimize the risk of injury while out “trolling” for candy.
For more useful tips to ensure a safe Halloween, please visit http://www.halloween-website.com/safety.htm. There is a lot of useful information on this site in addition to safety tips. There are recipes, good-natured pranks, trivia, and more. Are there any safety tips you would like to share? If so please enter them in the comments section. Happy Halloween!