Halloween is a spooky time for parents. We’re not talking about scary movies and frightful costumes—we’re talking about trick-or-treating safety! As parents, we often think of all the worst-case scenarios. Though we’re excited about spending Halloween with our kiddos, we’re just as nervous about a child getting hit by a car, poisoned by bad candy, lost in the dark, or injured in a costume mishap.
As irrational as some of this may seem, statistically, Halloween is one of the most dangerous days of the year. There is a 25%- 40% increase in traffic fatalities on Halloween. Plus, emergency rooms see an uptick in allergic reactions and injuries on the holiday as well. Because of this, practicing Halloween safety is essential for having a peaceful and memorable day.
Since Halloween is right around the corner, we’re sharing our top Halloween safety tips to protect kids and have a safe holiday:
29 Safety Tips for Halloween
Halloween Safety Tips for Adults
Supervise any kids who are trick-or-treating.
We recommend you supervise any child trick-or-treating. Even teenagers. However, it’s a non-negotiable for kids under age 12. Regardless of the familiarity of the areas or the quietness of the neighborhood, children should be accompanied through their whole trick-or-treating journey.
Add reflective tape to costumes and containers.
A good way to reduce the risk of a traffic accident is to put reflective tape on costumes and bags. This will increase your child’s visibility to drivers even if they’re in dark clothes.
Use identification bracelets and trackers.
Attach an identification bracelet to your child that has your name and contact information on it. That way, even if your young child is separated from you, they can be easily returned. We also highly recommend using AirTags or Tiles in kids’ backpacks or in bracelets as an added layer of security.
Check the candy for anything unsafe or unsanitary.
Though the threats of razor blades and drugs in Halloween candy are overblown, there is still a risk when accepting food from strangers. Unwrapped candy is unsanitary and should be thrown out. And, with the legalization of marijuana in several states, THC candy is increasingly common in households. It could definitely be mistakenly included in the Halloween candy stash. Check those trick-or-treat bags before allowing children to consume any candy!
Avoid masks on young children.
Costume masks are not recommended for young children. First, they can cause breathing issues and headaches. Second, they can obstruct your child’s sight, making it easy for them to trip, fall, or wander off. Opt for non-toxic face paint instead.
Make sure your own costume isn’t restrictive.
If you’re a parent that likes to dress up, we love that! However, ensure you’re still ready and available to respond in an emergency. If your 3-year-old takes off running, you have to be able to run after them and catch them. Or, if a child trips and skins their knee, you have to be able to bend down and administer aid. Your costume should allow you to move and see freely!
Bring flashlights, glow sticks, and string lights.
Dress your child for the weather.
Not every Halloween costume is made for every region’s weather. Make sure beyond assembling the perfect costume, you also make sure your children are dressed cool or warm enough. If it’s cold, consider layers under the costume as well as hats and gloves. If it’s hot, remove parts of the costume that are needlessly heavy or warm. Temperature regulation is very important for the safety of your kiddos!
Bring your phone and a first-aid kit.
Whether your costume has pockets or not, you need to have your (charged!) phone and a first-aid kit on you. If there’s an emergency, you want to be prepared to call an ambulance or give aid. This is especially true if you’re far from home.
Halloween Safety Tips for Kids
Never trick-or-treat alone.
Remind your kids to always have a buddy and never go off on their own. Trick-or-treating is something you’ll all do together!
Only go where there are lights on.
Teach your children that not every house is not open to trick-or-treaters. Show them how only the homes with their lights on are welcoming them to the door.
Stay away from other people’s pets.
Your kids may love their pets, but remind them that not everyone’s pets are friendly. Tell your kids not to touch or approach any animals on Halloween.
Look both ways and use the crosswalk.
Looking both ways before you cross traffic is always important, but it’s especially important on Halloween! Explain to your children that they’ll be facing traffic conditions that are more dangerous than normal. Even walk the route before Halloween and practice!
If you’re uncomfortable, remove parts of your costume.
Don’t push the costume part of Halloween. If your child expresses discomfort, remove that part of their costume for safety. Remind them they should communicate if something doesn’t feel right.
Never go in a home or car without your parents.
You should accompany your children at all times, including when they walk up to a home. Nevertheless, remind them not to go inside any cars or homes!
Don’t eat any treats until you get home.
Since you won’t be able to check candy as you go and the candy is a big car seat choking risk, enforce the rule that no treats can be eaten until you all arrive home.
Plan a route and set a curfew for teenagers trick-or-treating alone.
If you are allowing your children to trick-or-treat on their own, plan a route for them and agree on a specific time they should be home. Also, gauge their maturity. Teenagers love to pull dangerous pranks on Halloween. It might be best to keep them home if you’re worried about behavior that could get them in a pickle.
Halloween Safety Tips for Drivers
Be careful how you buckle the car seat with costumes.
Some costumes are puffy, bulky, or voluminous to show shape or fake muscles. These are fun, but you need to remove these costumes before buckling your child into the car seat. The puffy layers will compress in an accident (like a winter coat), which leaves dangerous gapping between your child and the car seat straps. Here’s a video to show you the risk!
Drive slow and stay alert.
Drive extra slowly and carefully on Halloween. Practice defensive driving like never before to keep all trick-or-treaters safe.
Avoid driving if possible.
If you can avoid driving during trick-or-treating hours, do it. The fewer cars on the road, the safer all kids will be!
Be extra careful in your driveway.
When/if you do drive, be extra cautious going into your driveway. That’ll be one of the most dangerous places, since kids may be walking on the sidewalk going from house to house.
Cut all distractions.
Remove all distractions from your car. Turn off the radio, put down the phone, and try to focus only on driving safety. Here’s a full list of distractions to avoid!
Don’t let teens drive on Halloween.
Keep teenagers off the road on Halloween. They’re already at an increased risk of accidents, and adding a bunch of extra child pedestrians and darkness to the mix is just not a good combo. If your teen absolutely has to be somewhere, you should drive them.
Halloween Safety Tips for Homeowners
Clear sidewalks and steps of tripping hazards.
Sweep and clean off your sidewalks and steps so kids can easily and safely get to your door for candy.
Don’t use real candles for pumpkins.
Candles inside pumpkins can be fire hazards. Whether it’s an irresponsible teen smashing a pumpkin or a long princess dress that causes the flames, the potential injuries are not worth the spooky atmosphere. Opt for battery-operated candles instead.
Bring pets in.
Even if you have well-trained pets, you never know how they’ll react in the unique Halloween atmosphere. And, you can’t be certain trick-treaters and their families will treat your pet respectfully. Bring them inside for the night.
Don’t give out homemade treats.
Cautious parents will probably throw your homemade treats away. Save the brownies for the bake sale and buy store-bought candy instead.
Reconsider alcohol at your grown-up party.
A lot of the traffic accidents on Halloween involve drinking and driving. Be a part of the solution by having an alcohol-free party. That way, there is no question about whether or not someone is safe to drive!
Be mindful of allergies.
Parents who have children with food allergies are even more stressed than the average parent on Halloween. Do what you can to eliminate common allergens (or have allergen-free options) and put a teal pumpkin on your doorstep. This is a signal to parents that your house is safe for most kids with a food allergy!
Halloween can be dangerous, but use these safety tips to keep your family safe.
If you’ve been stressed about Halloween, we hope these tips helped you make a plan that gives you peace of mind. Of course, you can always trick-or-treat at local events or develop your own Halloween tradition if you’d rather keep your family off the streets. Don’t let anyone pressure you to do Halloween one way or the other. Just have a blast with your kids!
For more safety tips, browse the Safe in the Seat blog. We provide education on vehicle and car safety, but we also have plenty of other advice to give you all the support we can deliver! We’re here for you!
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