Planning for a Safe Halloween With Children
Halloween is a fun holiday that children look forward to and plan for all month long, if not longer. It can only be fun if it’s also a safe Halloween. That is our job as parents while they are out there getting their scares and candy.
Sure there are the monsters and gruesome decorations intended to scare people but overall most children look forward to dressing up and trick or treating for candy.
There are, however, some things we parents should be frightened of on Halloween and, no, statistically speaking, tainted candy is not one of them. Here are two big dangers to be aware of and some quick tips for a safe Halloween.
Poor visibility and dark costumes often result in pedestrian/auto accidents. As a matter of fact, children are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other night. These collisions result in double the number of pedestrian fatalities than the average night.
(For a short video about this, go to our Safe Halloween Tips video here.)
- 70% of these accidents occur away from an intersection or crosswalk, so always cross the street at the corner where you will be more visible and make eye contact with drivers.
- Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
- Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!Walk in groups and communicate where the route you’ll be taking.
- Have kids use glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
- Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
- Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.
If you are the driver:
- Slow down.
- Most children trick-or-treat from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (and 60% of the pedestrian accidents happen) so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
- Put your phone away while driving.
- Two-thirds of all highway fatalities on Halloween are alcohol-related. If you have been drinking, have someone else drive.
There is an increase in burns during Halloween also.
- Consider using a battery-powered tea light, flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
- Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table away from flammable objects and where little feet won’t trip over them or kick them over, and should never be left unattended.
- When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
Quick Tips for a Safe Halloween
All Dressed Up:
- Fit right. When selecting a costume make sure shoes fit well and the costume is the right size to prevent trips, entanglements and falls.
- Be seen. Choose light colors, if possible. Decorate costumes and trick-or-treat bags with reflective tape or stickers. Use glow sticks or flash lights to be more visible to drivers.
- See. Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. Use a flashlight with fresh batteries or fully charged to help you see.
- If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
- Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
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Carving a Niche:
- Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
Home Safe Home:
- To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as branches, garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
- Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
- Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
- Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
On the Trick-or-Treat Trail
- Stick together. Children under age 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, remind them to stay in a group and stick to familiar areas that are well lit. Plan a route with older children and agree on a specific time when they should return home.
- Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
Healthy and Safe Halloween:
- A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
- Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
- Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
- Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween.
However, Special Additions for a Safe Halloween in 2020 include:
- Be aware of local and state guidelines for the holiday as they vary from location to location depending on mandates implemented by local governments.
- If trick-or-treating is allowed where you are, CDC recommends wearing masks and keeping socially distant.
- CDC specifies that costume masks are not appropriate masks to reduce possible viral spread. They also say to not wear both a cloth mask and costume mask as that could limit your breathing.
- If you decorate your cloth mask, remember not to use paint or magic markers which may further limit air flow or be toxic to breathe.
Want to skip the trick-or-treating this year, like we are (two teens aren’t too into it any more anyway). Here are some at-home ideas for Halloween. We’re watching scary movies and trying not to binge too much on candy.
In general, use common sense. Only go to people’s homes where it is obvious they are participating in trick-or-treating because their home is lit and oftentimes decorated. And be courteous. Stay off people’s lawns, don’t push younger kids out of the way at doors and say “thank you.”
For a even more detailed guide to a safe Halloween, you can read this very comprehensive article on Coupon Chief.
Remember to change those clocks and check those batteries in the smoke alarms this weekend too.
We want to know, what else do you do to make a safe Halloween? Share your comments below.
By Amie Durocher, Creative Director at Safe Ride 4 Kids and certified CPS Tech since 2004
Copyright 2020 Safe Ride 4 Kids. All rights reserved. You may not publish, broadcast, rewrite or redistribute this material without permission. You are welcome to link to Safe Ride 4 Kids or share on social media.
This post was originally published October 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.