Vampires, witches and monsters, Oh My! The Halloween season is upon us and that means little ghouls and goblins are anxiously awaiting to hit the streets. Before you head out the door, there are some Halloween safety tips you will want to follow to ensure everyone has a good time.
With all the frantic excitement of Halloween, kids become lost in the joy of it all — and they should, but it’s up to you to keep them safe. Talk to them, set the parameters and rules, and make sure they are supervised properly when trick-or-treating.
Halloween Safety Tips
Halloween night can be full of frightening surprises, but it should all be in good fun. With excited trick-or-treaters out for candy and residential neighborhoods brimming with pedestrians it can be a little chaotic. There are dangers that the festivities can bring and we don’t mean from the sugar rush. This guide will outline important safety tips for you and your little ones to ensure everyone has a wicked good time.
Halloween Fire Safety
What could possibly go wrong? Well, a lot. Heed this advice.
Most people don’t think about the fire hazards associated with Halloween but I do, and the NFBA (National Fire Protection Association) does as well, an organization focused on fire and electrical safety. Visit their site to learn more, here are some of their tips as it relates to fire and a few more from other sources, including my own thoughts.
What to do if you’re the unthinkable happens and your child’s costume catches on fire?
Stop, drop and roll — immediately.
Get them to practice, over and over so it becomes second nature. Then test them, calling out “You’re on fire,” randomly throughout the days leading up to Halloween. This will concretize their behavior integrating it into their response, making it second-nature. This is essential. If it actually happens (they catch fire), their practice will increase the odds that they won’t panic or delay. Costumes catch fire quickly, so every second counts. Watch this…
VIDEO | How Long it Takes for a Costume to Catch Fire
COSTUME MATERIALS : Costumes come in a range of shapes and sizes but for safety reasons, stay away from long trailing Fabric as you child will not be conscious of where his or her costume is.
The longer the fabric, the higher the risk and easier that it is for the costume to end up in a lit pumpkin or smouldering cigarette or recently burned firework laying on the ground. On Halloween, fire hazards are everywhere as kids like to use fire for all kinds of things in which you cannot predict or control. Err on the side of caution — always.
Fire Blanket — Consider giving your child one of these for Halloween.
And have one on you at all times just in case your child — or any child’s costume catches fire. They are cheap and portable. Be safe & be prepared. (Buy on Amazon)
VISIBILITY : When wearing a mask, ensure the holes are big enough to see out of clearly. Choose function over form. I know, kids want to look “cool” but it’s up to you to make sure they are safe. Looking ‘cool’ is secondary. Tell them they look cool after you know they are safely dressed. They need to be to see where they are in relation to their environment, allowing them to see any hazards nearby. Yes, seeing is essential to be safe. Don’t let them wear a mask or costume that impedes their ability to see and navigate the environment.
MATERIALS : Keep all Halloween decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs, lit fireplace, or indoor heaters.
Common Halloween materials such as : Dried flowers, cornstalks, crepe paper, fake wigs, rain gear and other thin costume materials are highly flammable. Keep all material from costumes and/or decorations far away from all open flames and heat sources.
FIRE EXITS : Keep all exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes in case of fire. Double-check your fire alarm beforehand to make sure it’s working properly. Make sure all children in your home know the location of the exits in case of fire.
VIDEO | From 1985 — Halloween Safety
Jack-O’-lanterns : Use a battery candle or glow-stick inside to light it. I know, candles are a tradition and part of the fun. If you decide to use a candle, be aware of the where you place the pumpkin. Educate your child and supervise them.
SUPERVISE : Always keep an eye on your child or all kids in your home or that you supervise when out trick-or-treating. They are excited and not very self-aware. Their focus is on fun. Your focus is to balance having fun alongside them while keeping them safe.
PUMPKINS : Keep lit pumpkins (with candles) away from common areas where kids are sure to linger. Keep the pumpkin at a reasonable distance from your front door. Trick-or-treaters will have a variety of costumes, which you do not control. A piece of dangling material from a child’s costume can find itself inside the opening of the lit pumpkin, such as the eye, nose or mouth.
Always keep the top of the pumpkin covered with the pumpkin lid to reduce the risk of having something fall in or dangle from a costume.
Where to place a lit pumpkin outside? Choose a safe location, away from trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, and walkways. Find a nook, or an elevated spot where it won’t fall over, away from traffic, where kids gather.
|Downloads : Printable Halloween Safety Sheets (from NFPA)|
Having a plan in place before you go out on Halloween night can provide an effective strategy to stay safe and maybe even score the most candy. Choose a route for you and your family that is practical. Take a neighborhood or area that you’re familiar with and map your route accordingly so you don’t chance getting lost.
It may be wise to choose areas that are popular or neighborhoods known for the best candy spots where more people are out and about than isolated neighborhoods. Just be mindful to avoid streets that are usually heavily trafficked. If the desired route is long you may want to have a plan for younger children that may get tired of walking after some time such as a wagon. It is best to avoid driving if possible as there will be a lot of people walking around and other drivers. Try to get together with a group of people to ride together with if you can.
When shopping for costumes make sure the one your child picks out offers optimal visibility. Try using non-toxic face paints instead of a mask. If your child does have a costume with a mask, be sure they can see and breathe easily through it before they go out on Halloween night. Most commercial masks are made of thin materials you can easily modify with a trusty pair of scissors to ensure they can see well.
Make sure your child’s costume (and yours, if wearing one) fits properly before Halloween. Choose the right size that fits comfortably and isn’t long to avoid potentially tripping or falling on it. If need be, you can hem it or pin it up to shorten the length if the bottoms drag along the ground.
Try to avoid props with costumes. Most kids will get tired of carrying these about halfway through the night and end up ditching them anyway or you will be left to carry it. Accessories such as weapons, even if they’re fake, can also pose a risk of injury to your child or others while walking. If they must have an accessory to complete their costume make sure it’s lightweight and made of plastic or rubber.
Children under the age of 12 should have an adult with them to go trick or treating. If your child is mature enough and you’re comfortable with letting them go out on their own to trick-or-treat plan for them to go with a group. Choose a route they’re familiar with that you both agree on and encourage them to always have a buddy with them at each stop they make. Set a time you both agree that they should return home and have a cell phone on them.
Learn About the Origin of Halloween.
We’ve been celebrating Halloween for centuries but you do know why we celebrate? What’s the Story.
Safety Tips When Walking
When you live in a small community or in a close neighborhood it’s likely more practical to walk door to door while trick or treating. Be aware and follow these Halloween safety tips when you’re on foot.
Talk to your child or children ahead of time about safety practices while out walking. They may already know these general rules, however, when trick-or-treaters are strolling through the streets and candy is involved they may need a reminder! Teach your children and remind them to follow these basic safety tips:
- Always look both ways before crossing the street for cars.
- Make direct eye contact with drivers before crossing to make sure they see you.
- Stay on the sidewalk and if there isn’t one walk in the direction facing traffic farthest to the left.
Always be watchful and keep your head up. Refrain from looking down at your mobile device while walking and stay alert. If you’re distracted young children can easily slip away from you. It also poses the risk of walking into danger, especially when you’re walking near the road. Stay watchful for cars that may be backing out or turning.
Wear comfortable footwear. Whether you choose to join the fun in dressing up or keep it casual, be mindful to wear shoes that fit well and are comfortable. Same goes for your trick-or-treater as well. You will likely be doing a great deal of walking and that can lead to sore, achy feet if you don’t have practical footwear. Also make sure shoe laces are tied to avoid tripping.
Make yourselves visible to others while walking. If your child’s costume is dark you can apply reflective tape and/or glow sticks so they are visible to drivers. Also have a flashlight on hand to see your pathway if you happen to be in a poorly lit area that lacks street lamps. Lawn decor and other obstacles could pose a risk of tripping in dark yards.
Start early, so you can get home early. It’s a long day for kids, especially with all of their excitement. They will get tired so it’s best to go out as soon as night falls, beat the rush and crowds so your child can get home, and you can watch their excitement when they analyze all of their free candy as you worry about all the sugar they’ll be eating for the week. Oh well. We were all kids once. Allow them the joy that Halloween brought you when you were a child.
Only go to homes that are well-lit and easy to walk to the front door. Never go inside the house to get candy. Stay outside of the front door at all times. Make this very clear to your child : Never enter their home under any circumstances.
VIDEO | Halloween Safety Tips
Halloween Safety Tips While Driving
If the path is a long one or you’re planning on going to a remote area to trick-or-treat, driving may be the best option. The traffic laws still apply on Halloween night. Be sure to also follow these safety measures to keep everyone safe.
Drive slowly through neighborhoods. There will be many other drivers and people on foot walking along the streets so use caution and stay watchful as you’re driving through. Use extra caution to look out for pedestrians at intersections, curbsides, and on medians.
Stay off of your phone while driving. This is a given and also a law in most states, but bears reminding. It may be tempting as you’re slowly cruising along or waiting for your trick-or-treaters to return from their stop. Put your phone on silent and leave it in the glove box or in your purse to avoid distraction from responding to that text message or scrolling on social media.
Be sure your headlights are on. It’s just as important for others to see you as it is for you to see them. Trick-or-treating typically begins at dusk and continues until dark generally between the hours of 5:30 and 9:30pm. Turn your headlights on early enough (not the brights) to easily spot trick-or-treaters and so other cars and pedestrians can see you.
Safety Tips for Candy
It can be really tempting for your trick-or-treater to snack on their sweet treats while they’re out on Halloween night. It’s best to have them wait until you get home to carefully look through the stash of candy collected. If you do allow candy while trick-or-treating be sure to inspect it first.
If your child is 3 and under, remove any candy from your child’s bag that can pose the risk of choking. Small round candies and hard candy such as skittles, peanut M&Ms, everlasting gobstoppers, and peppermints, are some of the greatest hazards just to name a few.
Check for candy that has been opened. Discard any candy you come across in your child’s bag that is opened, partially unwrapped or not in its original wrapper. Also inspect the candy itself before your child eats it for signs that it may be old, expired, or has an odd smell. Stick to the general rule of thumb -- when in doubt, throw it out.
2019 Study : Most Popular Halloween Candy by State (read more)
Adult Halloween Party Safety Tips
Who says Halloween is just for kids? There are many occasions and events that are held around this time of year tailored for the more mature crowd. Before you head out to enjoy the festivities be mindful of your own safety. Here are some tips to follow when you’re planning on going to a Halloween party.
If you are attending a party where booze is being served and you plan on having a drink bring a designated driver to the party. If you can’t find a buddy to tag along or they end up drinking at the party too call for a taxi or uber. Plan ahead and have the number on hand before you leave for the party.
Never leave your drink unattended. Sadly enough, there is always a chance of coming across someone with ill intentions. Parties are a very popular scene where shady characters can take advantage of the opportunity to slip something in your drink. Pour your own drink, avoid setting it down and never accept an open container from someone at a party.
Wear something functional and comfortable. Parties can quickly become crowded and an elaborate costume or tight-fitting dress could make it difficult to move around others. You may also want to skip wearing heels if you’re not accustomed to them to avoid falling and risking an injury.
Do not get on your phone or text as you are walking to your vehicle after the party. Stay alert of your surroundings. It’s best to have someone walk with you to your vehicle or stay with you while waiting for your ride if possible.
Halloween can be a lot of fun for kids and adults. It can also pose its own scary dangers and risks if not careful. Be sure to keep these safety tips in mind and go over them with your children so everyone has fun.
Classic Video | Indepth Halloween Safety Guide