Halloween is a magical time of year for kids, who love the trick-or-treating, parties, haunted houses, costumes, jack-o’-lanterns, and of course: the candy. For parents, teachers, and community leaders, this fun holiday can also bring more than its share of safety concerns.
To make sure your students and their parents are as prepared as possible, we’ve created a comprehensive list of super-useful safety tips. We’ve covered almost every potential issue, with a wide range of helpful solutions.
This year, make sure Halloween is trick-free! Safety can be part of the celebration. Just follow our time-tested safety tips, and have a happy and safe Halloween.
Download our great set of tips for Halloween safety to print for your school’s parents!
Cleverly Careful Costumes
Choose an outfit that won't cause safety hazards:
- Clothing, accessories, and wigs should all be fire-resistant or flame-retardant.
- Avoid masks: they may be fun, but they can obstruct vision. Use face paint instead!
- Use only nontoxic makeup; it’s smart to test it first on a small area. And don’t forget to remove all traces of makeup before sending kids to bed at the end of the evening.
- Be sure everyone’s shoes fit well and are tied on tightly. No high heels!
- Keep costumes above knee-height so no one trips or falls, and to help avoid contacting flame or getting tangled up with bushes or other costumes.
- All accessories (even swords and canes) should be short and flexible, and without any sharp points.
- Fasten reflective tape or glow-in-the-dark stickers to bags and costumes and/or have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights. Kids can wear glow sticks as bracelets of necklaces, too. When possible, choose costumes with light colors.
- Put a nametag including your name and phone number on each child’s costume.
- Any kids under age 12 should be accompanied and supervised by a parent or responsible adult while trick-or-treating, even in your own neighborhood.
- Map out your route before leaving the house, and notify loved ones what time you plan to return home.
- Make sure all adults are carrying flashlights with fresh batteries, and fully charged cell phones.
- When crossing the street: use traffic signals and crosswalks at corners. Look left, right, then left again while crossing – and keep looking around the whole time during crossing.
- Put down any electronic devices, keep your head up, and walk (don’t run) across the street.
- It’s a good idea to always make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of their vehicle.
- Never dart out into the street! Watch for turning cars. Don’t assume the right of way. Avoid alleys and don’t cut across yards. And never cross the street between parked cars or out of driveways.
- Walk on direct routes, with the fewest crossings, facing traffic when possible, always staying on sidewalks or clearly marked and well-lite paths.
- Stay away from candles and other open flames.
- Only visit homes with their porch lights on. Never enter a home, or a vehicle, for a treat. In general, it’s best to stay in your own neighborhood and stick to the homes of people you know.
- Remind kids about the steps involved in calling 9-1-1 or their local emergency contact.
- Notify law enforcement authorities immediately of any unlawful or suspicious activity.
- Remind kids not to eat any treats until they get back home.
Safety Tips for Motorists
- Drive slowly and stay extra alert on Halloween, especially in residential neighborhoods. Excited children can move quickly and in unpredictable ways. Watch out for kids at medians, curbs, and intersections.
- When entering or exiting driveways or alleys, drive slowly and carefully.
- Put away your phone, and allow no distractions. Focus on the road and on your surroundings.
- Keep headlights on even before sunset to spot children from a distance.
- Don’t let small children carve pumpkins. Have them draw a face with markers, then have an adult do the carving.
- Try lighting your pumpkin with a flashlight, LED lantern, or glow stick. If you have to light a candle, votives are safest.
- Pumpkins lit by candles must always sit on a sturdy surface, away from traffic and from anything flammable.
- Never leave a candlelit pumpkin unattended.
Home Safe Home
- Keep your home safe for the trick-or-treaters! Examine your front porch, steps, walkways, and yard and remove anything that could cause a child to trip or slip and fall, such as bikes, lawn decorations, toys, garden hoses, wet leaves, snow, etc.
- Make sure the bulbs in all outdoor lights are functional. Ensure that the walkway and front door are visible and brightly lit.
- Keep all family pets far away from treat-or-treaters. Restrain or temporarily remove pets if necessary.
- Check every single treat to make sure it is sealed.
- Dispose of all:
- Candy with torn packages, holes, or opened wrapping
- Spoiled items
- Homemade treats prepared by anyone you don’t know
- Suspicious or questionable items of any kind
- If your child has any food allergies, inspect candy labels fully. Many Halloween candies contain some of the most common allergens. For any treats without ingredient lists, bag them up and arrange a treat exchange with friends.
- Don't let young children consume any gum, peanuts, or hard candy, which may risk choking.
- Be sure kids eat a substantial, healthy dinner before they go out trick-or-treating or attend Halloween parties.
- Work with children to ration out treats over the days and weeks after Halloween, rather than leaving candy out in bowls or allowing kids to take bags of treats to their bedrooms. One or two treats a day until they’re gone is a healthier rate of consumption.
- If you want to encourage kids to avoid all the extra sugar after the fun of trick-or-treating, ask your children if they might like to swap out some or all of their treats for something else, like a book, a toy, or an outing to a park, restaurant, movie, or museum.
- Remember, going out trick-or-treating isn’t the only way to celebrate Halloween! If for any reason you’d like your kids to avoid the dangers of trick-or-treating, all kinds of alternatives ensure your children won’t miss out on any of the excitement. Slumber parties, games, candy trades, costume contests with prizes, movie nights: the options are plentiful and increasingly common, so feel free to start fun new traditions in the name of safety.
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