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Scared Safe: Halloween Safety Tips

Scared Safe: Halloween Safety Tips

The spookiest night of the year is on its way again! While you're buried in classic Halloween preparations, buying candy and making costumes, you might overlook one of the more mundane considerations: safety. We're not here to feed you some ghoulish urban legends about tampered candy, though. Halloween's a dark night -- literally. Releasing excitable children onto public streets after sunset is dangerous not because of ghosts or goblins, but for issues with visibility and traffic. (But also goblins. You should probably watch out for goblins.)

Submitted for your approval is our list of tips on keeping safe this Halloween...

Halloween Safety Tips Facts Trick or Treat Jack o'Lantern Pumpkin

Costume Safety

  • Buy bright, visible costumes: Some kids love playing the villain, so this isn't always possible, but you have an ally in reflective tape! Attach it to your child's costume and treat bag.
  • Make sure costumes aren't loose: Tripping is a major Halloween hazard. Make sure costumes fit snugly and that accessories like capes aren't too long.
  • Avoid blocking your vision: You'll need to watch for everything from porch steps to fallen decorations. Opt for face paint or makeup when possible. If your Black Panther or Kylo Ren requires a mask, have them consider carrying it until knocking on that next door.
  • Buy flame resistant costume materials: Some creative kids love to customize their costume. Make sure everything they use is flame resistant.
  • Test makeup first: Always buy makeup labeled Non-Toxic, and be sure to test it out prior to Halloween with a small amount applied to your child's skin, just in case it provokes an allergic reaction. Remove it fully before bed.
  • Choose accessories wisely: The details make the costume, but let's be honest: props are going to get swung around a lot. Make sure they aren't hard or sharp. Halloween shops carry great, soft, foam latex props now.

Halloween Trick or Treat Safety Tips Tricks Facts

Trick or Treating Safety

  • Never go alone: Horror movies taught us well! The potential for injury increases when you're alone. Children should either have adult supervision, or, if old enough to go without an escort (that guideline is up to you, and there's no firm answer for when a child is ready), trick or treat in groups.
  • Carry a light source: Whether it's a flashlight, glowsticks, or even your phone's flashlight feature in a pinch. If it makes you more visible to drivers, great, and if it helps you see at night, even better.
  • Stay on the sidewalk: Halloween's one of the best nights of the year for kids. It can be tempting to rush across streets, through alleys, and across yards. Stick to the sidewalk and be sure to just walk, not run. If no sidewalk is available, stay on the far edge of the road facing traffic.
  • Cross the street safely: Always cross in designated crosswalks and obey traffic signals. Look both ways and stay alert when crossing.
  • Plan a route: Knowing your route beforehand and sticking to familiar areas will prevent you from getting lost and help you and your child prepare for the practical: knowing the road crossings, what streets are well-lit, and what authorities might be available nearby in an emergency.
  • Plan ahead: Talk to your child about what to do in case of an emergency. Set a time to be home. Designate meetup spots in case of separation, such as the home of a family member or trusted neighbor, or a police or fire station.
  • Carry what you need: A first-aid kit or supplies are always valuable. If your child has asthma, don't forget their inhaler. A phone is useful in case of emergency (just don't let it distract you!).

Halloween Trick or Treat Tips Facts Tricks Safety


Driving Safely

Any neighborhood on Halloween night is basically a giant pinball game permanently set on multiball. Kids are excitable! And as much as we reinforce safety rules for them, sometimes they're going to forget themselves. Probably as soon as they see a really creepy Halloween house or another kid with a lightsaber they can duel. So it's up to drivers to be on high alert for pedestrians every October 31st.

  • Slow down!: The most important thing you can do. Driving slowly and cautiously will help you stay aware of pedestrians, especially near intersections and on curbs.
  • Use headlights: Even if night hasn't entirely fallen, driving with headlights on will help you see pedestrians and make your car more noticeable.
  • Be aware of the time: Trick or treating usually takes place between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. If you're traveling during those hours, be especially aware, even if it's before or after your town's official trick or treating hours.


Home Safety

Whether you're home handing out candy or not, scores of parents and children are going to be walking by your house. Make sure everything is safe and well-lit for them!

  • Clear your paths: Make sure your sidewalks, pathways, steps, porches, and driveways are clear of debris, and that your decorations are firmly secured. Block off or put signage on doorways that shouldn't be entered.
  • Keep your pets calm: Pets may get overly excited or nervous due to the number of people around, and kids may get overly curious. Make sure your pets are inside, or else tied up away from trick or treaters.
  • Practice pumpkin safety: Consider lighting your pumpkins with a glowstick or flashlight, or at least a votive candle. Keep candlelit pumpkins on a stable surface like a table, away from flammable objects like curtains, and never unattended.
  • Leave a light on!: Darkness is spooky, but no one wants to get hurt. If you're handing out candy, leave on porch lights or any other outdoor lights for visibility. Some houses even line their paths with walkway lights.
  • Don't invite vampires in: They can't enter your house if you don't let them.


Halloween Trick or Treat Safety Tips Tricks

Allergies and Candy Safety

Like we mentioned above, those tales of tampered candy or poisoned treats? They're myths spread by mischievous children and nervous parents. But there's a pressing concern for some children that should go acknowledged: food allergies. Whether you're handing out candy or your own child has an allergy, here are some tips to make sure they're not left out of the fun:

  • Hand out allergy-friendly candy: You can find lists online of candy that's free of common allergens like peanuts, tree nuts, milk, soy, eggs, and wheat.
  • Inform your neighbors: When trick or treating, let your neighbors know your child's dietary restrictions. Consider carrying cards that explain your child's allergy and list some safe candies.
  • Read and research: Fun size bars might not have ingredients readily available on the wrapper. You can usually find them online.
  • Beware cross-contamination: Many candies are produced in factories that produce multiple items. Be aware of other candies a company might make. When in doubt, trade the candy for one you know is safe.
  • Carry an epinephrine injector: If your child has a harmful food allergy, you probably already carry one, but don't forget it when you're out trick or treating.

The chaos of Halloween is part of the fun, but it helps to take a second while preparing to make sure everything's in order for a great holiday. Kids can be curious, exploratory, high-energy, and sometimes reckless; wherever children are, the potential for injury exists. You can minimize these risks by taking a close look at your costumes, candy, homes, and trick or treating routes in advance, well before the ghouls and ghosts are out.

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