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Tips & Tricks for Keeping Kids Safe on Halloween

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Start talking with your children a few days prior to Halloween to make sure they’re aware of the following guidelines. Quiz them, have them repeat the guidelines back to you. If they’re resistant or rolling their eyes, you may want to consider making a “passing grade” on the Halloween Safety Quiz a requirement for going out on Halloween.


Halloween Costume & Decor Safety

Even flame resistant costumes can catch fire, they just don’t burn as quickly as a non-flame resistant costume. So make sure your child uses caution around candles. You yourself can make your own home safer by using battery operated candles and glow sticks in place of candles.

If your child is carrying a prop such as a knife, pitchfork, etc. check to make sure that it can’t hurt someone. If needed, file down rough spots or sharp edges or better yet replace a hard plastic or metal prop with a foam, paper mache or rubber prop.

Steer younger kids away from wearing high heels as part of their costume. Even if they don’t get hurt, tripping and stumbling along will dampen their Halloween fun. If they refuse you may want to carry a pair of flat shoes with you that they can change into once they realize you were right all along.

Attach something to both the front and back of your child(ren)’s costume that is easily identified from a distance and in the dark such as a certain color of glow rings or reflective tape in a pattern. This will help you to keep track of your child(ren) all night long as well as keep them safer. You may even want to put some reflective items on your own clothing.

Face paint is safer than a mask. Even masks that fit well can move and impair your child’s vision.

It’s best to walk with your kids rather than follow slowly in your car, but if you are driving with your kids or stopping to let them out, turn on your hazard lights. This helps to alert other drivers that children may be running to or from your car. And if you are following your children in your car DO NOT use your cell phone to make calls, text or check email. Even though you are going slowly, this is a night when children are running across the street (often without looking) and if you’re attention is on your phone you’re begging for an accident.


Going Door to Door Trick-or-Treating Safety

Serve your kids dinner before they go trick-or-treating and they will be less likely to want to gobble candy all night long.

Go with your children to make sure that they go only to homes that you know. If your children are too old for you to go with them, then I would offer that they are too old to go trick-or-treating, but that’s your call.

Never, ever, ever go inside a home, no matter what they may offer or what help they may ask for. An easy way for your child to handle any such requests is to tell the adult that you (the parent) are waiting at the curb and they’ll get you to come help. Rehearse with your child possible scenarios so they are prepared for enticements such as the following:

  • “I have more candy in (a hard to reach place). Will you help me get the candy?”
  • “My cat is lost & I think I hear her in a cupboard but I can’t get to her. Can you help me?”
  • “I’m trying to put up Halloween decorations. Can you hold (something) while I put it up?”

Even if you will be with your children make sure that they understand that they should not walk across a street unless you are right beside them.

Older Kids on Halloween

If your kids are old enough to be going out on their own on Halloween night make sure that:

  • they let you know where they’ll be and at what times
  • they stay with their friends and not go off alone or with just one friend
  • they stay in well lighted areas and not walk through alleys or fields that are not well-populated or well lit

Make sure that your children understand that Halloween pranks such as throwing eggs or hurting an animal are a crime and that if caught doing something like this they can be arrested.

Check the Internet for a map of sex offenders in your area. Make sure you steer your younger children away from any homes in your area and that your older children are warned to stay off certain streets. I would suggest just staying away from an entire street as it is difficult to remember that one house on a certain street should be skipped.

While there have only been a few documented cases of poisoned Halloween candy,  you should still instruct your children not eat any candy until you (the parent) have a chance to inspect it.

  • Make sure that the wrapper in intact.
  • Toss out any homemade treats.


Answering the Door to Trick-or-Treaters Safely

Make sure that that your home is well lit from the street to your door. If you need extra lighting consider placing battery operated lights such as tap lights along the walk way. You can find them inexpensively at WalMart and other places.


Halloween Party Safety

Refer to the above tips for Halloween Costume & Decor Safety.

If using fake blood make sure that it won’t come in contact with your party go-ers or their food. Most fake blood will stain and should not be ingested.

If you’re hosting a party check with parents to see if their children have any food allergies. Common food allergies are peanuts, dairy and shell fish.

If you are with your child at a large event such as a church party make sure to keep an eye on your children. Entrance to these events is not always limited to church membership and it’s possible that you will not know all the adults that are at an event like this.

If you’re hosting an adult party, keep an eye on guests who are leaving to make sure they are okay to drive. If they are not, ask someone who has not been drinking to drive them home or call a cab.

If pumpkin carving is going to be part of your party activities, supply guests with safety knives that cannot cut skin. If a sharp knife is needed, assign one or two persons to do that part of the carving, or do it yourself prior to the party.

If you’re using dry ice to create spooky effects make sure that it’s kept separate from food. Dry ice can cause serious damage to internal organs if ingested.

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