Costumes for a Safe Halloween

Before Halloween arrives, choose a costume that won’t cause safety hazards.

  • All costumes, wigs, and accessories should be fire resistant. 

  • Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision. 

  • Remove all makeup before children go to bed to prevent skin and eye irritation. 

  • Have kids carry glow sticks to help them be seen by drivers. 

  • Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and if possible, choose light colors. 

  • When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.  Shoes should fit well and costumes should be short enough to prevent entanglement, tripping, or contact with flames. 

  • Hats should fit properly to prevent them from slipping over eyes. 

  • If a sword, cane, or stick is part of your child’s costume, make sure it’s not too sharp or long.  A child may be easily hurt if he stumbles or trips. 

Carving Your Niche

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers.  Then parents can do the cutting. 

  • Use caution and take steps to prevent hand injuries when carving.  Always cut away from yourself and in small, controlled strokes. 

  • Sharper is not better.  Often sharp knives become wedged in the thicker part of the pumpkin, requiring more force to remove it, and most injuries are sustained when the knife finally slips out and comes in contact with the supporting hand. 

  • Special kits with small, serrated pumpkin saws work better and are less likely to get stuck.  If they do, they are not sharp enough to cause a deep, penetrating cut. 

  • Carve your pumpkin with its top on.  Better still, cut a hole in the bottom so you can place the carved pumpkin on top of the light rather than awkwardly reaching inside the pumpkin to try to position a light. 

  • Consider using a flashlight, glow stick, or LED tea light 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 not on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. They should never be left unattended. 

  • While you’re carving, keep your child busy (and out of harm’s way) by letting them decorate a small pumpkin all their own. 

Home Safe Home

  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, residents should remove things children could trip over in the yard or from the front porch, such as garden hoses, toys, bikes, debris, and lawn decorations that are not easily seen. 

  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.  If you’re planning on handing out treats, leave your outdoor lights on so trick-or-treaters know you’re home and can see a clear path to your door. 

  • Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps and animal droppings removed. 

  • Make sure your decorations and any electrical cords are placed away from your main walkways and stairs to prevent trips, and check that your steps and railings are in good repair. 

  • Consider giving out treats in your driveway instead of at the door if your yard is unsafe. This can be useful if any part of your yard leading to your door could create a bottleneck if a crowd of kids turns up. Driveway trick or treating can be fun in a few ways since you can play Halloween music next to you, decorate the area or create a haunted house, and even feel comfortable that you won't be bothered out of your TV chair every second. 

  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.  This could ruin everyone’s evening. 

  • Turn everything off when you call it quits or don’t want to participate.  Lit porch lights are the most known “signal” that someone is home with candy.  If you’re away, be sure to lock and secure windows and doors as well as turn off anything that might attract trick-or-treaters. 

Walk Safely

Here’s a scary statistic:  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.  

  • A responsible adult should accompany young children on the neighborhood rounds.  

  • Put electronic devices away, keep your head up, and walk, don’t run, across the street.  

  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.  Look left, right, and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross the street.  

  • Teach children to make eye contact with the drivers before crossing in front of them.  

  • 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.  

  • If no sidewalks are available, walk on the far left edge of the roadway and always facing traffic.  

  • Never cut across yards or use alleys.  

  • Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.  

  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up.  Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.  

  • Join kids under age 12 for trick-or-treating.  If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, tell them to stick to familiar areas that are well-lit and trick-or-treat in groups.  

  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review a route acceptable to you.  

  • Set a specific time children should return home.  

  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and teach your children never to enter a stranger’s home or car.  

  • Review with children how to call 9-1-1 if they ever have an emergency or become lost.  

Drive Safely - Tips for Motorists on Halloween

Pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween.  Remember to:  

  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.  

  • Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians, and on curbs.  

  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.  

  • Get rid of any distractions in your car - like your phone - so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.  

  • Turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.  

  • Popular trick-or-treating hours are 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  Be especially alert for kids during those hours.  

  • At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.  

  • Discourage new, inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween.  

Healthy Halloween

  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters (and you) from filling up on Halloween treats.  A high-fiber meal that includes protein will mean you’re less tempted to sneak some of their stash.  

  • Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books, crayons, pencils, temporary tattoos, mini bubbles, or trinkets that glow.  

  • 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.  

  • Set the limit before you head out, that they can have a few pieces when they get home.  Then children aren’t surprised when you tell them “no more.”

  • Try to ration treats for the days and weeks following Halloween.  

  • Try putting the candy away in a place that is out of sight and you may find that the kids forget about it after a few days.  

  • After children have sorted through it and picked out their faves, consider a buy-back.  Some dental practices offer a buy-back program, or you could negotiate giving the unwanted candy away, trading it for a small reward or prize, or storing it for baking treats throughout the year.  

  • You also can mix leftover candy with whole-grain cereal, nuts and a few pretzels to make a homemade trail mix for snacks.  

pumpkin stock photo