Safety Tips for Parents to Remember This Halloween
There's nothing quite like Halloween — dressing up as your favorite character and trekking around your neighborhood showing off your costume and collecting free candy. The holiday is the pinnacle of community cohesion. After all, everyone has a similar goal: to make the holiday enjoyable for all involved.
Of course, with Halloween comes a few health and safety risks. The American Academy of Pediatrics and Center for Disease Control and Prevention both make recommendations for staying safe on Halloween. We compiled a comprehensive list of the best safety tips here for prime Halloween fun.
Preparing your children
- Plan bright, reflective costumes. Use reflective tape on the costume, shoes or trick-or-treat bags for improved visibility.
- Consider non-toxic makeup or decorative hats instead of masks, which can limit vision. Test any makeup on your child's skin beforehand in case of an allergic reaction.
- Choose flame resistant, short and soft props, and make sure costumes fit well and won't cause tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
- Make a plan for your route before you leave the house. Set a deadline for when you'll arrive back home. That way your Halloween fun won't affect school the next day.
- Don't purchase decorative contact lenses without first consulting an optometrist.
Preparing your home
- Remove any tripping or slipping hazards from your yard, including wet leaves or snow, garden hoses or toys.
- Restrain your pets. They'll be excited to see new faces at the door, and you don't want them jumping on or biting trick-or-treaters.
- Make sure your yard is well-lit by checking your outdoor lights and replacing any burnt-out bulbs.
- Keep your decorations safe. If you're displaying carved pumpkins, use a flashlight, glow stick or votive candle instead of a traditional candle. When using candlelight, keep the pumpkin away from curtains, on a sturdy table and off a path frequented by pedestrians.
- Make sure your young children have a trusted adult to accompany them. If older children are heading out with friends, make sure they follow the buddy system. Review an acceptable route beforehand and make sure they stick to familiar, well-lit areas.
- Make sure every member of your group is carrying a flashlight. Not only will it help you see potential obstacles in your path, but it will also help others see you.
- Only go to homes that have a porch light on. Never enter a stranger's home or car.
- Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. If the road has no sidewalk, walk on the edge of the road facing traffic. Cross the street at corners, using traffic lights and crosswalks. Always look both ways before crossing the street.
- Carry a cell phone for quick communication. Make sure your child knows how to contact you or your local emergency number in case there is an emergency or they get lost.
- If you're driving on Halloween, note that peak trick-or-treating hours are 5:30-9:30 p.m., so be especially alert during this time. Drive slowly and be aware that children may be crossing the street at any moment.
- Remove makeup before bed to prevent skin or eye irritation.
- Investigate candy before consuming it. Throw out spoiled candy or candy with tampered, punctured or torn wrappers.
- Ration candy in the days and weeks following Halloween. Both you and your child will appreciate the fact that the candy lasts longer and they won't have a stomachache from eating too much in one sitting.
Whether you and your family enjoy Halloween for the dress-up, tricks, treats or frights, these tips will make your Halloween safe and enjoyable for everyone involved. Feel free to also share some of your best Halloween safety strategies in the comments below.