Tips to Keep Kids Safe for a Spooktacular Halloween

For decades, parents have heeded warnings of the dangers of trick-or-treating, including old wives’ tales and gross exaggerations.

While these stories may be fictional, it is still important to prioritize safety during the holidays. Review these tips with your family this month for a safe Halloween.

Stranger Dangers

While studies have shown that “Stranger Danger” doesn’t necessarily increase on Halloween, it’s still a time to take precautions and educate your kids before they head out without adult supervision.
• Young children should be attended by an adult when trick-or-treating.
• Older kids should trick-or-treat with a friend or preferably in a group.
• Kids should not step inside the homes or cars of strangers—or even acquaintances you haven’t pre-approved. Also, tell them what to say if they’re invited in, so they’re prepared. Your child can be direct and just say, “My parents told me I have to wait outside.”
• Give your kids a curfew so you know what time to expect them home.
• Know what route they plan to take. Make sure it’s in safe neighborhoods and they won’t have to walk through secluded areas to get there.
• Only go to houses with porch lights on.
• Have kids carry a cell phone, and make sure they know how to use it to dial 9-1-1 or an adult.
• Add a tracking app to their phones for the night.

Be Traffic & Costume Wise

Most risks to your child on Halloween are safety issues involving traffic and costumes. Ensure they have a safe costume and know the rules of the road before they head out.
• Make sure costumes, masks, and shoes fit well. Costumes shouldn’t drag on the ground posing a tripping hazard.
• Avoid masks. Instead, use make-up and well-fitting hats or wigs, so vision isn’t obstructed.
• Avoid high heels.
• Try to find flame-resistant costumes, and make sure kids keep their distance from lit pumpkins and luminaries.
• Aim to stay off the road completely and use sidewalks instead.
• Use crosswalks if possible, and look both ways twice. If at a stop sign or light, make sure traffic comes to a complete halt before crossing.
• Don’t cross the street between parked cars or where drivers’ views might be obstructed.
• Carry a flashlight so cars and bicycles can easily spot you. You can also add reflective tape to costumes and bags or carry a glow stick.
• Keep props such as swords and knives, short, soft, and flexible to avoid injury to themselves or others.
• Don’t wear colored contact lenses unless they’re prescribed for the child wearing them. Otherwise, they can cause severe eye damage even if they’re non-prescription sold solely to change eye color.

Welcoming Trick-or-Treaters

After you send the kids out, remember to make your driveway, walkway, and porch a safe place to visit.
• Keep cords and tripping hazards out of your driveway and walkway.
• Use glow sticks or solar lights in pumpkins and luminaries rather than candles.
• If you are passing out candy or other treat items, make sure they are sealed.
• Keep your pets away from trick-or-treaters. Costumes and excited children can scare pets and could lead to unexpected behavior.

Safety Tips from Local Readers

We asked our readers on Instagram to submit their Halloween safety tips!

“Buy your kids a glow-in-the-dark candy holder or pail so they can be easily seen by drivers.”

“Double check your kids’ candy when they get home. Make sure they know not to eat any candy that is open.”

“Slip glow sticks in their shoe laces for an inexpensive way to make them more noticeable in the dark.”

“Make sure they have flashlights, instruct young kids to hold hands, do a candy checks when they get home, walking in a well-lit area, and choose a neighborhood your kids know well in to help them not get lost.”

“Placing a teal pumpkin on your doorstep if, in addition to candy, you are offering non-food items for kids with allergies.”