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Halloween Safety Tips

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD

From the candy to the costumes, Halloween is a fun-filled time for kids and parents. To help make it a trick-free treat, follow these simple safety tips.

Dressing Your Little Ghouls & Goblins

  • Choose a light-colored costume that's easy to see at night. Add reflective tape or glow-in-the-dark tape to the costume and to the trick-or-treat bag.
  • Only buy costumes labeled "flame-retardant." This means the material won't burn. If you make your own costume, use nylon or polyester materials, which are flame-retardant.
  • Make sure wigs and beards don't cover your kids' eyes, noses, or mouths.
  • Masks can make it hard for kids to see and breathe. Instead, try using non-toxic face paint or makeup.
  • Don't use colored or decorative contact lenses, unless they're prescribed by a licensed eye doctor.
  • Put a nametag — with your phone number — on your children's costumes.
  • To prevent falls, avoid oversized and high-heeled shoes. Make sure the rest of the costume fits well too.
  • Make sure that any props your kids carry, such as wands or swords, are short and flexible.

Trick-or-Treating Basics

Kids under age 12 should:

  • always go trick-or-treating with an adult
  • know how to call 911 in case they get lost
  • know their home phone number or your cellphone number if you don't have a landline

Older kids who go out on their own should:

  • know their planned route and when they'll be coming home
  • carry a cellphone
  • go in a group and stay together
  • only go to houses with porch lights on
  • stay away from candles and other flames
  • know to never go into strangers' homes or cars

For all kids:

  • According Safe Kids Worldwide, the risk of kids being hit by a car is higher on Halloween than on any other day of the year. So make sure all kids:
    • walk on sidewalks on lit streets (never through alleys or across lawns)
    • walk from house to house (never run) and always walk facing traffic when walking on roads
    • cross the street at crosswalks and never assume that vehicles will stop
  • Give kids flashlights with fresh batteries. Kids may also enjoy wearing glow sticks as bracelets or necklaces.
  • Limit trick-or-treating to your neighborhood and the homes of people you know.

When kids get home:

  • Help them check all treats to make sure they're sealed. Throw out candy with torn packages or holes in the packages, spoiled items, and any homemade treats that weren't made by someone you know.
  • Don't let young children have hard candy or gum that could cause choking.

Keep Visiting Ghouls Safe Too!

Make sure trick-or-treaters are safe when visiting your home too. Remove anything that could cause them to trip or fall on your walkway or lawn. Make sure the lights are on outside your house and light the walkway to your door, if possible. Keep family pets away from trick-or-treaters, even if they seem harmless to you.

Halloween Goodies — What You Give Out and What Kids Get

  • Make Halloween fun for all — including kids with food allergies. Consider buying Halloween treats other than candy. Stickers, erasers, crayons, pencils, coloring books, and sealed packages of raisins and dried fruits are good choices.
  • As you inspect what your kids brought home, keep track of how much candy they got and store it somewhere other than their bedrooms. Consider being somewhat lenient about candy eating on Halloween, within reason, and talk about how the rest of the candy will be handled. Let kids have one or two treats a day instead of leaving candy out in big bags or bowls for kids to eat at will.
Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: October 2018