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Staying Safe on Halloween

October 31, 2019

It’s that time of year – ghosts, goblins and trick or treaters galore! In your preparations, at parties and on the day of, don’t forget to factor in safety. Halloween is an exciting time of the year for children and families. Festivities often extend throughout the month, and it’s easy to forget about simple safety precautions that can mean the difference between a happy Halloween season and time in the doctor’s office or emergency room.

Knives should be left to teens and adults during pumpkin-carving events. Consider an electric candle or flashlight inside your pumpkin instead of a real flame. If you do use a real candle, make sure your pumpkin is on a stable, level surface, and extinguish the flame at the end of the evening.

When choosing or making a costume for children, ensure enough ground clearance to avoid trip hazards: Keep capes, long dresses and other draping accessories short enough for safe walking. Make sure children’s shoes fit well and laces are tied. Consider placing reflective tape on costumes or have children carry glowsticks for visibility. Skip masks, or choose small ones that do not obstruct forward or peripheral vision. Wigs, costumes and accessories should be fire-resistant. If your child’s costume involves makeup, test the face paint ahead of time on a small area to ensure there is no topical reaction. If a costume includes a sword, stick or other long object, make sure the tip is blunt.

On Halloween night, ensure that young children are accompanied by an adult. Older children or teens who will trick or treat in small groups without an adult should stick to a pre-arranged route, only approach houses with the porch lights on, never approach cars to accept candy, and have a designated return time. Remind children not to enter the homes of people they don’t know and to hold off on eating treats until they return home, so parents or guardians can inspect candy for obvious hazards.

If you and your children will be trick or treating in a neighborhood without streetlights, carry a flashlight with fresh batteries. Stay on sidewalks, and in neighborhoods without sidewalks, stay to the side of the road and walk against traffic. Parents accompanying children should wear light jackets or reflective safety vests to be easily seen, and should walk closest to traffic, keeping children on the yard side. When crossing the street, be more cautious than usual -- according to the National Safety Council, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. In 2017, October ranked number two in motor vehicle deaths by month.