Halloween is a fun time of year for both kids and adults. But for our elderly loved ones, it can be stressful and a little scary, especially if they live alone. A constant stream of trick-or-treaters knocking on the door can be a bit unsettling and intimidating – add scary masks and high-spirited kids and the unknown is greatly magnified.
Our elderly loved ones should feel safe and secure on Halloween, whether they choose to hand out candy or not. Here are nine Halloween safety tips to consider:
- Check your lights and keep them on, even if you’re away from home. A dark house may invite unwanted guests. Whether you’re going to be gone that night or at home handing out Halloween treats, make sure your porch light is working and that your home’s exterior and the interior is brightly lit.
- Look outside before opening the door. Even though it’s Halloween, always check to see who is standing outside before answering the door. If it’s a group of unruly teens or a lone adult, you might want to keep the door closed as a safety precaution.
- Keep all visitors outside. Stay inside when passing out candy. Do not invite strangers into your home or allow them to use the restroom or your phone. You can also place a bowl of candy on the front porch rather than handing it out. Include a sign that says: “Happy Halloween! One per person, please.”
- Keep a clear pathway. Keep all walkways, both inside and out, clear from flame-lit jack-o-lanterns, oversized decorations, and home décor. Removing items that pose tripping hazards will not only help keep aging loved ones safe, but also the children coming to the door whose vision may be impaired by a mask.
- Avoid using candles: Instead, use battery-powered lights to illuminate your jack-o-lanterns. Flames from candles can pose a fire hazard. Part of a costume could catch on fire or, if forgotten, it could cause a house fire.
- Avoid being alone. Instead of having your elderly loved one hand out Halloween candy alone, make it an evening. This is especially important if your loved one is living with dementia or physical limitations. It will make everyone feel more comfortable, and they’ll be safe throughout the night! If you can’t be there, we can. Our FirstLight® Companion Care Services provide visiting services for a few hours, or even overnight. We can be there to help distribute Halloween candy and, in between trick-or-treaters, we can share a conversation, play games or watch their favorite television shows.
- Hang a sign: Sorry, out of candy. If you’re not handing out candy or if you run out of candy before trick-or-treating hours end, leave a sign on the front door or porch. This will deter ghosts and goblins from walking up to your front door and ringing your doorbell. Don’t forget to leave your lights on.
- One for them…two for me. The Halloween candy bowl may do more harm than good. More than likely your elderly loved one does not have access to such foods on a regular basis. Having a bowl full of candy may become a temptation and cause them to overindulge. Additionally, eating hard or chewy candy could be harmful to their dentures or become a choking hazard, especially if the senior has difficulty swallowing. Consider limiting how much candy is distributed or handout alternative treats such as Halloween stickers or temporary tattoos, mini cans of play-doh, glow sticks or glow-in-the-dark jewelry.
- Costume safety tips: If an elderly adult is dressing up in a costume, it shouldn’t be restrictive or something that may cause them to trip. Masks and other accessories that can block vision are also a bad idea for seniors that may already struggle with poor vision
Halloween is a scary-fun night for people of all ages. By taking a few extra precautions will help your aging loved one to be safe and able to enjoy all the fun. As the seasons continue to change, be sure to check out these other Autumn safety tips for older adults.
We are proud to CHAMPION the family caregiver, offering empathy, advice, and support for those who provide countless hours of care to their loved ones. At FirstLight Home Care we want to provide a helping hand, relieve some of the stress that comes with caregiving and give you back a few hours in your overwhelmingly busy day.