Trick or Treat: Keep Your Kids Halloween Safe
Halloween is a fun holiday that children look forward to and plan for all month long, if not longer. As parents it’s our job to keep them as Halloween safe as possible while they are out there getting their scares and candy.
Children are two times (you read that right 2x) as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Yikes!!
- Fit right. When selecting a costume make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
- Be seen. Choose light colors, if possible. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers. Use glow sticks to be more visible to drivers.
- See. Masks can sometimes obstruct a child’s vision, try non-toxic face paint or makeup when possible. Use a flashlight to help you see.
- Drivers beware. Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
- 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.
Consider the Details…
All Dressed Up:
- Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
- Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
- 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.
- When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
- 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.
- Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
- 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.
(For a short video about this, go to our Safe Halloween Tips video here.)
Carving a Niche:
- Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
- Consider using a 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 curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.
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 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
- A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
- If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. 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.
- Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters.
- Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
- Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
- Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
- 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.
- Never cut across yards or use alleys.
- Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
- 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!
- Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.
- 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.
For a complete guide to Halloween safety, you can read this very comprehensive article on Coupon Chief.
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This post was originally published October 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.