Witches, goblins, and skeletons, oh my! Halloween is that magical time of year when children get to dress up in creative and fun costumes as they gather a bag full of treats, but it is also a time safety becomes a concern for parents. Here are our top 10 tips that can help you and your little ones stay safe this Halloween season:

1. A day to pretend.

Show your child that Halloween is a day to pretend. Make sure the holiday is treated as a day to play dress up and have a party. Do not emphasize the scary elements of Halloween such as skeletons, witches and goblins. For toddlers these images can be very scary.

2. Go early.

It is best to hit the trick or treating route early, right near nightfall. Not only do the little ones tire easily and go to bed early, but the more aggressive crowds tend to start roaming the streets later. Seeing lots of vampires and scary creatures might frighten your toddler.

3. The brighter the better.

Choose brightly-coloured costumes that will be clearly visible to motorists. For greater visibility, add or incorporate reflective tape into the costume. Provide yourself or children with a flashlight to see better, and to be better seen.

4. Read before you buy.

Look for costumes that are labelled “Flame-Resistant” — nylon or heavyweight polyester costumes are best. Flame Resistant does not mean ‘fire proof’. Avoid costumes with baggy sleeves or flowing skirts this will minimize the risk of contact with candles and/or other fire sources.

5. Limit Accessories.

Replace plastic swords and sharp-pointed princess crowns with softer versions. Try sewing a stuffed sword for your little gladiator, or make a paper or plastic foam crown for your toddling princess. You can make police badges out of felt to replace the sharper plastic store-bought versions. Make a magic wand by attaching streamers, curling ribbon or glitter-decorated tulle instead of pointed plastic stars.

6. Skip the mask.

Make-up and face paint are better than wearing masks which can restrict breathing and/or vision. If you choose to use a mask make sure it is one that allows the child to see and breathe easily.

7. It is not all about the candy.

Tell your children not to eat any goodies until you had a chance to go through them. Make sure that your child eats dinner before they set out, so they’ll be less tempted to eat their goodies along the way. It might be a good idea for parents or children to take along a backpack to empty the goodies into if the trick-or-treat bags become too heavy.

8. Safety starts at home.

Plan on handing out treats that are relatively baby- and toddler-safe, such as candy bars, rather than hard candy, lollipops, toys, coins, and other small items that could end up in a child’s mouth.

9. Keep little ones busy.

When at home giving out treats keep your little one’s fingers away from the door. Put her/him in charge of waving to the exiting children from the front window, or have him/her dress their own doll or stuffed animal up for the holiday and remind them to keep it company while you hand out the candy.

10. Light the way.

Keep your home bright with a porch light but keep candle-lit jack-o-lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.

Follow these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for everyone! Happy Halloween!