Sightseeing. A periodic tour of CVI news, views and events.

Safety Tips for Visually Impaired Trick or Treaters

On Friday, people will be participating in the scariest night of the year-Halloween. This is the time of the year for creepy costumes, lots of sticky sweets and tricks and treats. To best prepare for this fun-filled activity here are a few safety tips with a visual impairment in mind.

Picture of STARS student Waleed dressed as Captain AmericaCreative costumes are a key element. From furry animals, princesses or your favorite super hero, costumes are essential for a howling Halloween. But whether you design and create your own child’s costume or purchase one already made keep these things in mind. Be sure to have a costume that fits the child well; one that is not too big or too long that might trip. Additionally avoid costumes with masks, wigs, hats or eye patches that can block the eyes and decrease usable vision. If using makeup with the costume. Use easy-on-the-face makeup and use products that won’t run or become itchy further decreasing VisAbility.

Now that you’re costume is ready to go let’s look at having additional lighting. Halloween activities are typically done around dark settings and at night which could be a challenge for a visually impaired child. So, carry a flashlight, wear glow bracelets and place reflective tape on clothing, shoes and of course that large bag of treats that will be collected during the evening!

Additionally, using a white cane can serve a dual purpose. A cane not only provides assistance with safe mobility but has some reflective properties. The red tape on the cane can be seen by cars or other trick-n-treaters while traveling down dark sidewalks and across streets. But, if you are escorting a small child that does not use a white cane, hold their hands to avoid trips and falls, especially walking around dim places and navigating stairs. You can even use the tandem method of holding on to a string, rope or the trick-n-treat bag, so that everyone stays close and together.

Halloween night is not the time to be too adventurous. Trick-n-treat in neighborhoods that you are already familiar with or go to house parties of people you already know. Be sure to verbally communicate plans and activities with everyone involved. It is important to listen carefully and pay attention to avoid and even scarier fright like getting lost.

STARS students dressed as Despicable Me, a zombie cheerleader and a catKeep hands free. Serious trick-n-treaters need hands available to grab up all that candy and goodies. A suggestion would be to carry a backpack or messenger bag to store treats. Using a headlamp flashlight can free hands as well. Avoid carrying additional items with your costume like spears, wands, swords or other pointy objects. Not only will this keep hands free but also avoid eye injuries.

The last and final tip for a fun and safe Halloween is to have a sighted person check candy and other treats. Especially since a child is visually impaired it is even more important to carefully inspect candy. A sighted person should go through all the candy before eating and throw away anything that looks suspicious, has been opened or is damage.

Don’t let a vision impairment frighten you away from enjoying Halloween. With some pre-planning and adhering to the above safety tips you and your child are sure to have a ghostly good time! Here are some additional resources for creative and safe ways to participate in Halloween and go trick-n-treating:

1. American Foundation for the Blind’s Blog on Happy Halloween

2. Prevent Blindness’ Halloween Safety Tips for Children

3. Mayo Clinic’s Halloween Safety Tips

4. Halloween Safety Tips Website