There's fun to be had when the witches and goblins are out searching for candy. Keep your kiddos safe with these essential Halloween safety tips for parents.
Kids love the magic of Halloween: Trick-or-treating, classroom parties, costumes, and scary movies. But for parents, often there is a fine line between Halloween fun and safety concerns, especially when it comes to trick-or-treating.
As a kid, Halloween was one of my absolute favorite times of the year. I got to be someone or something else for a day and score a ton of candy too! As a kid, does it really get much better than that?
We would always go to my grandmother's neighborhood to go trick or treating because she had an actual neighborhood. We lived on a street with 8 houses on it.
I remember my mom letting me go trick or treating without an adult at a fairly young age (I think I was 11 or 12) and letting me be gone for what felt like hours of fun.
Now, looking back on it, I can hardly believe my parents let me go trick-or-treating on my own for so long!
Halloween Safety Tips
Keeping Halloween fun is a matter of keeping everyone safe, so I wanted to take this opportunity to provide the best helpful Halloween safety tips for parents and kids, alike. Many of these tips are from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Halloween Costume Safety
- All costumes, wigs, and accessories should be fire-resistant and short enough to prevent tripping
- Avoid masks that obstruct vision
- If your children are out after dark, fasten reflective tape to their costumes and bags, or give them glow sticks
- Blinking lights work better to bring attention to your child than steady lights. Tie a couple of LED mini flashlights onto your child's candy bag one facing forward and one backward. As the child walks the lights bobble up and down attracting attention.
- When buying Halloween makeup, make sure it is nontoxic and always test it in a small area prior to the big night.
- Remove all makeup before children go to bed to prevent skin and eye irritation
- If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child's costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
- Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.
Pumpkin Carving Safety Tips
- Let children draw the face with markers; then parents can do the cutting.
- Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
- Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and not on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. They should never be left unattended.
Halloween Home Safety Tips
- To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove anything a child could trip over from the porch and front yard: garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations, etc.
- Parents should check outdoor lighting to make sure the path is illuminated. Replace burned-out bulbs.
- Wet leaves or snow should be cleared from sidewalks and steps.
- Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater or attack another dog or run away.
Trick or Treating Safety Tips
- Accompany your children! Join in the fun and go with your kids. If you can't be there, make sure your children trick-or-treat in groups and insist on adult supervision.
- Toddlers and preschoolers can disappear in the blink of an eye. Tether your child to you with a Velcro wrist strap around each of you with both ends hooked to a leash. I used to have one similar to this one for my wanderer.
- Have flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and anyone walking with them.
- If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
- Only go to homes with a porch light on, and never enter a home or car for a treat.
- Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters to:
- Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
- Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
- Carry a cell phone for quick communication.
- Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
- Walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic if no sidewalk is available.
- Never cut across yards or use alleys.
- Don't assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will!
- Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.
Halloween Candy Safety and Food Allergies
- Halloween can be tricky (and not so fun) for kids with food allergies. Parents need to be vigilant about examining candy:
- Always read the ingredient label on treats. Many popular Halloween candies contain some of the most common allergens, such as peanuts or tree nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat.
- If the ingredients aren't listed, arrange for a treat “exchange” with classmates or friends. Or, bag up the goodies your child can't eat because of an allergy and leave them with a note asking the “Treat Fairy” to swap them for a prize.
- Be aware that even if they are not listed on the ingredient label, candy is at high risk of containing trace amounts of common allergy triggers, because factories often produce many different products.
- “Fun size” or miniature candies may have different ingredients or be made on different equipment than the regular size candies, meaning that brands your child previously ate without problems could cause a reaction.
- Teach your child to politely turn down home-baked items such as cupcakes and brownies, and never to taste or share another child's food.
- When in doubt, throw it out
- Consider participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project and purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home. Click here for non-food ideas!
Halloween Safety Tips for Children
- A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage kiddos from filling up on Halloween treats.
- Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
- Try to ration treats for the days and weeks following Halloween.
Halloween Safety Tips for Pets
With all the chaos of Halloween, take a few precautions to keep your furry family members safe.
I took our dog trick-or-treating with us one time, and she got attacked by a dog who ran out of its house (I couldn't see it until it was outside). With that in mind, here are a few safety tips for your pets.
- Trick-or-Treat candies are not for pets.
- Do not leave pets out in the yard on Halloween.
- Keep pets confined and away from the door.
- Pets and glow sticks don't mix – keep glow sticks out of reach of pets.
- Keep pets away from lit pumpkins or any decoration that can be a fire hazard.
- Electric and battery-powered decorations should be out of reach from your pets.
- Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with an ID tag and contact information in case they do get lost.
By planning ahead and teaching our kids ways to stay safe, we can limit our Halloween “nightmares” to those in the movies. A safe Halloween is a happy Halloween for your family!
Tell us in the comments – how old are your kids…do they go trick-or-treating?