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Published on October 28, 2015

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is an exciting night for your little ghost or princess. Make sure trick-or-treaters stay safe by following these easy tips.

Homeowner Preparations

  • Turn on porch lights and other outdoor lights around the home
  • Clear the yard of tripping hazards like tools, pots and toys
  • Consider backing cars into the garage for the night – if you need to leave you’ll have a better view of children crossing your driveway than you would backing out
  • Consider lighting outdoor jack-o-lanterns with battery lights or chemical sticks instead of candles; if candles are used, place them away from areas where trick-or-treaters will be walking
  • If you are buying batteries for flash lights, buy some for the smoke detectors, too
  • Turn off porch lights if you don’t want to join in the festivities

Costumes

  • Make sure costumes and wigs are flame retardant
  • Costumes should be a safe length to avoid tripping
  • Be cautious with long, flowing costumes when near flame
  • Masks should have both eye and breathing holes; eye holes should be large enough for good peripheral vision
  • Face paint is an alternative to masks but be sure it is non-toxic and labeled “lab tested”
  • Instruct children to lift masks over their heads while walking
  • Costumes should have reflective tape for visibility; carry flashlights (with fresh batteries) or chemical glow sticks
  • Ensure kids wear well-fitting shoes to avoid tripping
  • Make sure props such as swords and brooms have smooth tips and are flexible so they don’t cause injuries if someone falls on them
  • Props, especially toy guns (discouraged by law enforcement) should not be too realistic
  • Trick-or-treat bags should be large and deep to avoid candy spills
  • Discreetly place a tag inside your child’s costume with name, address, phone number, etc.

Supervision

  • The age a child can trick-or-treat without a parent depends on maturity. The National Safety Council recommends children under age 12 go with an adult

Trick-or-Treating

  • When your child is old enough to go without an adult, it’s still best to go with a group
  • Tell children to stay with the group the entire night
  • Send a cell phone with them
  • Discuss a route for kids to follow; point out off-limit areas such as alleys, fields, etc.
  • Tell children to always WALK and stay on sidewalks in lighted areas
  • Children should go only to homes of people they known and avoid homes with porch lights turned off
  • Agree on a time kids must return home
  • Don’t allow bikes, rollerblades or skateboards
  • Review the basic rules of trick-or-treating: never take anything from a stranger, never talk to a stranger in a car, cross at corners, never run between parked cars, stop drop, and roll if costumes catch fire

Candy

  • Feed kids dinner before they leave to help them resist trying their treats before being checked by an adult
  • Or consider sending a small bag of your own treats to tide them over
  • Don’t give hard candy to young children because it can be a choking hazard
  • Check all candy when your child returns home
  • Discard unsealed beverages or treats that are not individually wrapped
  • When in doubt, throw it out

Pets

  • Chocolate can be toxic to pets, so keep it out of reach
  • Consider isolating pets for the evening; the unfamiliar sights and sounds can agitate them
  • Make sure your pets are wearing collars and tags in case they escape

References: National Red Cross, National Safety Council, Los Angeles Fire and Police departments

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