Halloween is an exciting time for children. The prospect of dressing up in fun costumes and going trick-or-treating with friends can be a highlight of autumn. As fun as it is for children, however, it’s equally worrying for parents. Safety risks abound, from falling in the dark to unsafe candy. Below are some Halloween safety tips from safety expert Sally Wilson.

Halloween costume safety

  • Avoid masks or head gear that blocks vision, long costumes or awkward shoes that could cause a fall, and loose or non-fire-resistant material that could ignite near a candle.
  • Use hypoallergenic makeup for face painting instead of masks that could block vision. Don’t apply makeup too close to the eyes.
  • Make sure swords and other accessories are made of cardboard or other flexible materials.
  • Choose costumes that are bright and reflective, or mark costumes and accessories with reflective tape and provide flashlights.

Trick-or-treating safety

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Children younger than 12 years old should always be accompanied by an adult. Children should also be careful when crossing the street, and only cross at corners.

Kids should also be mindful of cars in driveways. It becomes darker earlier at night in the fall and kids can be more difficult to see when a car is backing out of a driveway.

Some more safety tips for trick-or-treating include:

  • Plan your trick-or-treat route in advance so that when the time comes you know exactly where to go.
  • Children younger than age 12 should cross streets at night with an adult.
  • Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights for added visibility to drivers.
  • Never go inside a stranger’s home or car.
  • If older kids are trick-or-treating without adult supervision, parents should make sure they go in a group and stick to a predetermined route with good lighting.
  • Stay away from pets — they might not recognize children in costumes.

You can also keep kids safe by slipping a piece of paper in their treat bag that has their name and address, in case they are separated from the group.

Halloween candy safety

  • An adult should check sweets for signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them.
  • Remind children to only eat treats in original and unopened wrappers.
  • Throw away unwrapped candies and candies with wrappers that are faded, have holes or tears or signs of re-wrapping. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Treats should be stored outside of the child’s room so parents can keep a watchful eye on consumption.

Have a safe and fun Halloween!

Halloween Safety Checklist infographic

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Sally Wilson, RN, BSN, was the Education, Prevention, and Outreach Coordinator for the Division of Trauma and Burns at Children’s National.

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