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Consider sugar content, wrappers and chewiness before making Haloween trick-or-treat purchases.
From eNews, Oct. 26, 2006
As parents scramble to get last-minute supplies and finish costumes this Halloween, Kia Harries, 4-H youth development educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Service, has some helpful hints.
First and foremost, remember to make sure the costumes are safe for the children wearing them, says Harries. She recommends the following:
- To prevent tripping, make sure costumes aren't too long.
- Make sure children can see through masks easily. Also, the masks shouldn't cover their mouths.
- Make sure there is room for layers of clothing under a costume, so children can stay warm while they're out trick-or-treating.
When deciding on treats to give trick-or-treaters who appear at the door, Harries says age-appropriate items are best. She recommends considering sugar content, wrappers and chewiness before making purchases. Children who are too young for chewy candy run the risk of choking. Alternatives to candy include coupons for local stores or restaurants, or coins for their piggy banks.
Harries encourages parents to walk with their children when they go trick-or-treating and to stand near the door when they stop at a home. "Keep an eye on your children at all times," she advises. "Keep track of what homes they visit and what treats they receive at each home."
If your child hasn't yet decided on a Halloween costume, Harries has tips to help busy parents arrive at a quick solution:
- Look in closets and see what could be transformed into a costume, such as an old shirt or pair of pants. Let children paint on them or cut designs in them.
- Think about making a coat or warm clothes part of your child's costume, so they can stay warm while outside. Your child could become a snowman or a winter sports enthusiast, for example.
- Check jewelry boxes or toy boxes for costume jewelry that could be part of a costume for fairy, gypsy or princess.
- Use television, movie or cartoon characters as a starting point. Then think about what you have around the house that could fit for the character. For example, a flannel shirt and a tool belt could turn a child into Al from the television show "Tool Time," or black clothing, cat ears and whiskers could make Cat Woman.
- Check your fabric box or visit a fabric store for remnants to inspire ideas. You could stitch pieces of fabric into a clown costume.
For more Halloween safety tips, listen to the University of Minnesota Moment.