While some see Halloween as a party night for grownups – especially with October 31 falling on a Friday this year – we believe in Halloween for the kids. We want every youngster who celebrates to be safe from childhood injuries.
Many experts recommend that parents involve their children in organized group activities instead of door-to-door trick-or-treating. Those who choose to pursue the traditional pursuit of candy and other favors are advised to only visit homes of people they know.
Those with little kids in the Westhampton area of Richmond might check out Trick or Treat Street (TOTS) on Westhampton Green at the University of Richmond on October 26 (the Sunday before Halloween) from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. The university’s Greek community is putting on the fair for children ages 10 and younger (and their parents), and will offer food, magicians, games, pumpkin decorating, face painting, costume contests (including a pet costume contest) bounce houses, a straw maze and more.
Elsewhere, Richmond.com’s Halloween Guide offers information about several opportunities throughout October for Halloween fun for kids of all ages, including but not limited to:
- Ashland Berry Farm in Beaverdam is hosting haunted evenings that feature a hay ride to the edge of Booger Woods and the ghosts, ghoulies and many other scary spectacles that await among the trees and the dark. There is also Morbid Manor, Old Ridge Asylum and Sinister Sideshow to check out if you dare. The cost is $20 for Booger Woods and $30 for all-event Scream Pass. It starts October 3.
- The Creepy Hollow Hayride at Creepy Hollow Scream Park in Glen Allen is a narrated tour of spooky scenery, illusions and scary surprises, with a bonfire and more fun awaiting those who survive. The cost is $15 for the hayride and $26 for the hayride and Scream Forest, with an additional fee to go to front of the line. It starts October 3 as well.
- Belmont Berry & Pumpkin Farm in North is running hayrides for kids to choose and paint their own pumpkin. They can also build a scarecrow (bring old clothes), run through the sunflower and corn mazes, try geo-caching and more. Admission is $5 per person or $15 per family. Pumpkins and scarecrow materials are extra. The activities take place each weekend.
- Boulevard Flower Gardens at Ruffin Mill in Colonial Heights is planning a variety of fall fun, including a hay ride, barrel train, moon bounce, inflatable slide, straw maze, pony rides and goats to feed. It will also have freshly popped kettle corn, specialty pumpkins and gourds, straw bales and corn stalks available. Entry and hay rides are free. There is a small fee for some children’s activities.
Tips for Safe Celebrations
- Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision. If a child is wearing a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers. If possible, choose light colors.
- Do not allow children under the age of 12 to trick-or-treat without adult supervision. Kids mature enough to go without supervision should trick-or-treat in groups and stick to familiar areas that are well lit.
- Put phones and other electronic devices down, while you walk. Carry flashlights or glow sticks.
- Cross the street at corners, looking both ways and using traffic signals and crosswalks. Walk, don’t run, across the street.
- Be sure the walking areas and stairs at your home are well-lit and free of obstacles that could cause falls for trick-or-treaters.
- Keep candle-lit jack-o-lanterns and luminaria away from doorsteps, walkways, landings and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables out of the reach of pets and small children. Never leave them unattended.
- Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. So, be especially alert for children during those hours. Drivers should slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods.