Does your family go trick-or-treating?
It’s one of those issues good Christians can (and sometimes do) disagree on. In previous years, I’ve written about how Christians tend to think about Halloween in one of three ways:
- They enjoy it, focusing on the fun and candy part of it.
- They amend it, so their children can enjoy activities like a “harvest festival” or “trunk or treating” at church.
- They ignore it by not acknowledging the day in order to remain true to their convictions.
Here at Focus, we respect all three approaches. I think most of us can agree that some of the elements traditionally associated with Halloween – the ghosts, witches, devils, and even the provocative costumes – are a real concern. But we can probably also agree that, if families stay away from the worrisome parts of the holiday, they will most likely have pretty harmless fun. It’s just a matter of respecting each other’s convictions on the matter.
Having said that, I know some of you will be taking young children trick-or-treating. That’s why I want to share a list of Halloween safety tips with you that was compiled by Dr. Tyler Sexton, a pediatrician on Focus’ Physicians Resource Council (a panel of Christian doctors who advise the ministry regarding medical concerns). Here they are:
- Select costumes that are flame resistant and brightly colored or reflective. If your child is wearing a dark costume you can add reflective tape to the costume or trick-or-treat bag to increase your child’s visibility.
- Costumes should be short enough to prevent tripping.
- Avoid masks, which can limit your child’s field of view. Instead, consider non-toxic makeup, hats, or other alternatives that will not obstruct your child’s vision.
- You should accompany your kids (or arrange for another responsible adult to do so) when they’re out trick-or-treating.
- Stay on well-lit streets and keep to the sidewalk. Use crosswalks when crossing the street.
- Equip your children with flashlights to allow them to see and be seen in the dark.
- If you choose to allow older children to go out without an adult, they should still walk with a buddy. Make sure you map out a route for them that you are comfortable with, and set an agreed-upon time for them to return home.
- Instruct your child to only go to homes with a porch light on. Explain that they should never enter a stranger’s home or car for a treat.
- After you get home, inspect your children’s candy before you allow them to eat it; discard any candy that is unwrapped or open.
- While candy is a much anticipated treat at this time of year, sugar contributes greatly to the epidemic of obesity kids in America face. Fortunately, you as the parent are in control of the loot they haul in. Let them enjoy it, but dole it out in reasonable amounts. That most likely means rationing it out over weeks, not days.
My thanks to Dr. Sexton for providing us with these tips.
I hope this information will help those of you participating in Halloween-related activities to enjoy a safe and healthy time. And for those of you who will abstain from the holiday, I hope you enjoy the weekend!