Halloween may be different in this most-different-ever year, but there is plenty of good information available to help Arizona families with young children make it safe and fun for little ones.
Coronavirus Safety Concerns
The American Academy of Pediatrics has shared some ideas for ways to keep safety steps in place while celebrating Halloween, both at home or if you choose to trick-or-treat. They include making cloth face coverings/masks part of your child’s costume (“think surgeon or superhero”) and avoiding large groups or clustering at doorsteps.
Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, also published a blog, “Don’t let COVID-19 Haunt Your Halloween,” with advice and guidelines for celebrating safely.
“I’m pleased to say that trick-or-treating can be done safely,” Dr. Christ writes, “but it’s no time to let down your guard since COVID-19 is still active in our communities. We just need to follow the steps we’ve all been taking to help curb the spread in recent months.”
The AZDHS website also has a list of other Halloween tips and resources.
Halloween can be scary for little ones.
Scary experiences can ruin Halloween for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, who often can’t distinguish between fantasy and reality. And some costumes and neighborhood decorations are very realistic.
Easing young children into Halloween is one of the best ways to have a smooth holiday, and the first step is being on the lookout for fears and anxieties. Helping young children work through their emotions is a skill that will serve them later in life.
The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to talk to their child with a sympathetic ear:
- Do not belittle or ridicule your child’s fears, especially in front of their peers.
- Do not try to pressure your child into being brave. It takes time to confront and overcome anxiety.
- Instead, a parent can encourage, but not force, them to progressively come face-to-face with their fear.
Protect their teeth, too.
Baby teeth are important for your child’s healthy development, so you want to do your best to avoid tooth decay. It’s always a good idea to limit the amount of candy your child eats, but they’re probably going to indulge in more sugary, chewy and sweet treats than normal on Halloween. The good news is that tooth decay is preventable, and there are things you can do to avoid an oral health nightmare for your little ones.
When germs in your child’s mouth combine with sugar, it can lead to tooth decay. The longer sugary food is on a tooth, the more time germs have to grow and eat holes in your child’s teeth. The best way to avoid tooth decay is to keep your little ones on a regular oral health routine.
- Clean your child’s teeth every day.
- Give children healthy snacks, such as fruits, vegetables and nuts, instead of candy and sugary foods.
- Talk to your toddler and preschooler about “anytime” and “sometime” foods to help them limit sugary foods that cause tooth decay. (Halloween candy is a “sometime” food.)
- Take your child to the dentist for regular check-ups. Just like they need an annual check-up with their doctor, your child needs a dental check-up starting at age 1 and every year after that to help prevent tooth decay.
No matter how you celebrate Halloween this year, we hope it’s a time of happiness, excitement and togetherness for you and your little ones. And we echo the words of Dr. Christ: “I wish everyone a great and healthy Halloween. #MaskUp when you mask up.”