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A Safe and Spooktacular Halloween

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:

Adorning Your Little Ghouls

  • Choose a light-colored costume that's easily seen at night. Add reflective tape or glow-in-the-dark tape to the front and back and to the trick-or-treat bag.
  • Only buy a costume 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, use nontoxic face paint or makeup.
  • Avoid colored or decorative contact lenses, unless they're prescribed by an eye doctor for your child.
  • 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.

Pumpkin-Carving Precautions

  • Don't let kids use knives. Have them draw their designs on the pumpkin with a black marker — then you or an older sibling can do the carving.
  • Remove pumpkin guts safely. If your children beg to do it — as many kids do — let your little ones get messy safely by scooping out pumpkin flesh with their hands or an ice cream scoop.
  • Clean up the mess. Pumpkin flesh is slippery and can cause falls and injuries when dropped on the floor. Layer newspaper or old cloths under your carving workspace and clean up spills right away so no one slips or trips.
  • Skip the candles, which may cause fires. A burning candle in a pumpkin may become a blazing fire if left unattended. Instead, use a glow stick (available in many colors) or flameless candle to safely illuminate your jack-o'-lantern.

Trouble-Free Trick-or-Treating

  • Go with young children (under age 12). Make sure they know how to call 911 in case they get lost. Check to make sure they know their home phone number.
  • Know the route taken by older kids who trick-or-treat on their own, and when they'll be coming home. Also be sure that they:
    • carry a cellphone, if possible
    • go in a group and stay together
    • only go to houses with porch lights on
    • 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
    • stay away from candles and other flames
    • know to never go into strangers' homes or cars
    • cross the street at crosswalks and never assume that vehicles will stop
  • Give kids flashlights with new 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 your 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 haven't been made by someone you know.
  • Don't allow young children to have hard candy or gum that could cause choking.

Note: Make sure trick-or-treaters will be 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.

Gobbling Down Halloween Goodies

  • Consider buying Halloween treats other than candy. Stickers, erasers, crayons, pencils, coloring books, and sealed packages of raisins and dried fruits are good choices.
  • Know how much candy your kids collected 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 sample at will.
Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: October 2017

Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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