While some families buy ready-made costumes for Halloween, others spend considerable time creating their own costumes. However, homemade does not always mean safer. There are some advantages to homemade costumes: they often contain fewer plastics than store-bought costumes and therefore can be healthier, and they tend to be less expensive. If made correctly, home-made costumes can also be safer. However, if you are making your own Halloween costumes at home, keep these design elements in mind to keep your trick-or-treaters safer:
1) Choose the right shoes for the costume. Avoid giving your child adult shoes or shoes that are too large – these can increase the risk of tripping and put your child in danger of head injuries as a result. Look for shoes that fit your child correctly and ensure that the shoes have good treads to help prevent slip and fall injuries. Keep in mind that fall leaves can make sidewalks slippery. Consider adding some store-bought stickers to the bottom or shoes to give them extra traction.
2) Always carefully alter home-made costumes for a perfect fit. Many home-made costumes are made from adult clothes or large pieces of fabric. If this is the case for your costumes, make certain that you have the fabric altered to fit your child correctly. This is important to avoid trip and fall injuries as well as choking hazards. Use needle and thread to alter the costumes, as double-sided tape can easily become unglued, leaving dangerous dangling pieces of material.
3) Consider the flammability of the fabric. Many store-bought costumes come with a safety rating for flammability, although this is not true of all costumes purchased in stores. When creating your own costumes at home, look for materials that will be less flammable. Keep in mind that Halloween burn injuries are a major cause of Halloween injuries and hospital visits, as carved pumpkins lit with candles tend to attract children.
4) Choose makeup carefully. Makeup is often safer than masks, since masks tend to make it harder for your child to see properly. However, makeup has its own hazards. Alcohol and other harsh ingredients can cause burn injuries and serious rashes, for example. Look for makeup that is reliable and safe and always test the makeup on a small area to ensure your child does not have a sensitivity to the product. Check expiry dates on makeup and discard any products that are past their “best before” date.
5) Avoid small parts. When making your costumes, ensure that there are no small parts that your child can detach and swallow. For example, ensure that all beading is small or too large to swallow and is correctly attached to the costume. Check all buttons to ensure that they are firmly sewn to the costume. Small parts and accessories can cause a choking hazard for small children.