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they TACTICS; AS MUMS AND DADS GET THEIR LITTLE MONSTERS READY FOR HALLOWEEN, KRISTEN HARDING OFFERS TOP TIPS FOR SAFE TRICK OR TREATING.

DECIDING whether they want to be a werewolf, a zombie or a witch might be all the little ones need to think about this Halloween, but for parents there are bigger concerns when it comes to trick or treating.

Here, Kristen Harding, a childcare expert at Tinies (tinies.com), one of the UK's leading childcare agencies offers some tips: 1 CONSIDER YOUR COSTUMES TAKE your child's, age, size and physical abilities into account when choosing a costume. For younger children, keep it simple and remember to make sure any attachments are well secured. If you purchase a costume you may want to remove small pieces as they could be choke hazards.

2 AVOID SUGAR OVERLOAD HAVING a limit of how many sweets are allowed to be consumed on the night and on the days immediately afterwards will mean the kids' Halloween haul will last longer, while the sugar highs and lows are kept to a minimum.

Kristen Harding Suggest that you hold on to the majority of their loot and let them carry a smaller container.

3 KEEP GROUP SIZES SMALL IT can be fun to go out with a few children, but remember how intimidating a large group of kids can be. Limiting groups to five children or less means the person at the door will be less overwhelmed and you can still keep your eye on all of them.

4 MIND YOUR MANNERS UNFORTUNATELY children don't always remember to say thank you, and Halloween is no different, whether it's because they are shy or caught up in the moment - it's still not OK!

Grabby hands can make people unlikely to offer sweets again next year. Be sure to address politeness before you head out and don't be afraid to remind them to say thank you - eventually it will sink in.

5 STRESS STRANGER DANGER ALL year we tell children not to talk to strangers and then, for this one night of the year, we encourage them to go to strange homes and knock on the doors.

This means we need to set boundaries beforehand without scaring them. Reminding them never to enter a stranger's home and making sure you are always only a few steps away can help this. Never let the kids go into a garden you don't have full sight of, especially when you don't know the person who lives there.

6 PLAN YOUR ROUTE CAREFULLY DEPENDING on where you live, there will be places that are safer than others for your children to trick or treat. There will be streets that you are familiar with, ones that you know a few people on and ones that are well lit. Think about these things when you plan your route.

Look for indicators at each house before you let the children approach. If a house has a lit pumpkin outside, they are in the spirit and are more likely to have sweets ready to hand out, whereas a house that turns off all front door lighting is sending a message that they are not participating this year.

7WRAP IT UP SOMETIMES sweets have a tendency to escape their wrappers. While there is probably nothing wrong with these sweets, there is no way to tell where they have been or who has touched them.

It's up to you as a parent but, removing unwrapped sweets from your child's haul is probably for the best.

CHECK OUTFITS ARE FIRE SAFE CONCERNS were raised about the safety of Halloween costumes when Strictly Come Dancing host Claudia Winkleman's daughter's costume caught light when she brushed against a candle in 2014.

Halloween outfits are not subject to the same fire safety criteria as regular clothing as they are classed as toys. Always look for the label "flame Claudia Winkleman's istant" and make sure there is a visible CE mark. This means the product complies with European health and safety requirements. An EN71 label on costumes means it complies with EN71 - a Europe-wide standard, which tests flammability.

Make sure your child wears garment underneath their so there is a layer between Children in Halloween costumes costume and their skin. Heavier, materials are considered safer thin, frilly ones.

Safety campaigners are also urging parents to swap candles in pumpkins for safer LED lights.

THREE OF THE BEST... halloween accessories HALLOWEEN BATTERY PUMPKIN TORCH A Halloween torch, pictured below, which also plays spooky sounds. PS3.99, festivelights.com PERSONALISED FIRST HALLOWEEN BABY SLEEPSUIT Soft 100% cotton sleepsuit featuring a baby bat and the words 'first Halloween' that can be personalised with baby's name. Available in sizes from 0-3 months up to 12-18 months.

PS18, notonthehighstreet.com KIDDIMOTO SKULLZ BACKPACK A scary backpack with cushioned adjustable straps and eight storage pockets for all those trick or treat goodies. Available in small, PS14.99, and large PS19.99, kiddimoto.co.uk
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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Oct 25, 2016
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