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Halloween Safety: Advice for Your Child

Parents, please discuss these safety tips with your children before Halloween so that everyone can be safe and have a good time!

Costume safety

  • Costumes should not restrict your child’s movement. The costume should not include clothing that dangles to the ground, or accessories or shoes that could cause your child to trip or fall.
  • Have your child try on the costume a few weeks before Halloween to make sure it fits.
  • Costumes should not restrict your child’s vision. We recommend using face paint instead of masks. But if your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eyeholes are large enough so he or she can see clearly.
  • When using face paint, try applying it to a small area of your child’s wrist a few weeks before Halloween to make sure the child will not have a skin reaction. If your child develops a skin irritation, try another brand or call your health care provider for advice.
  • Costumes should be brightly colored and visible at night. Reflective tape or vests are recommended so motorists can see your child in the dark.
  • Costumes, including wigs and bags, should be flame retardant. Look for this label on costumes before purchasing them.
  • “Weapon” accessories, such as swords or knives, should be made of flexible material or avoided completely.
  • Make sure your child dresses appropriately for the weather.
  • Carry a spare “treats” bag in case your child’s rips or breaks.

Candy safety

  • Children: Don’t eat or open any candy until you get home.
  • Parents: Always check your children’s candy for tampering before they eat it. If a candy wrapper is ripped or open, throw the candy away and do not eat it. If the candy looks suspicious, call your local police department.
  • Do not eat candy that is unwrapped, such as loose candy corn.
  • Do not eat homemade candy or treats.
  • To be extra safe, do not eat fresh fruit that is given out during trick-or-treating.

Neighborhood safety

  • Go trick-or-treating in a neighborhood in which you are familiar.
  • Parents: Always accompany children under age 10 and don’t let them get too far ahead of you. Parents might want to consider taking their children to organized trick-or treating events (such as in a shopping mall or nursing home) instead of going door-to-door.
  • Children over age 10: Never trick-or-treat alone. Always go with at least two friends and stay together for the entire evening. Do not accept a ride from strangers or accompany them anywhere. Parents: Know with whom your child will be trick-or treating and in what neighborhoods.
  • Know the route you are going to take ahead of time. Children over age 10: Make sure your parents know what route you are taking, and stick to that route.
  • Use a flashlight. Never use candles or torches, as these can cause a fire. Also, don’t touch or play around lit pumpkins.
  • Only go to houses that have the lights on. Always stay in lighted areas.
  • Go to a neighbor’s front door, not the side or back of the house.
  • If someone doesn’t come to the door after ringing the doorbell twice, leave. Do not bang on the door or yell.
  • Never go inside anyone’s house. If someone at the door needs to get the candy from another room, wait for the person outside.
  • Walk on sidewalks and driveways. Do not take shortcuts through backyards, alleys, or parks.
  • Be careful around your neighbors’ pets. They might be afraid of your scary costume! Make sure your neighbors have their dogs secured or on leashes before you approach them.
  • Have a set time for older children to return home.
  • Warn your older children about the dangers and consequences of vandalism.

Tips for neighbors

  • Turn on all outside lights to prevent injuries.
  • Clear sidewalks, doorsteps, and lawns of objects — such as large flowerpots, sprinklers, or other yard decorations — that could cause someone to trip or fall.
  • Report any suspicious or criminal activity to your local police department immediately.
  • Use battery-powered Jack-O-Lanterns instead of putting candles in pumpkins. If you do light your pumpkins, do not leave them unattended or outside where someone could trip on them and cause a fire.
  • If you need to leave your house, back out of your driveway very carefully.
  • Keep pets inside, if possible. If your pet stays outside, make sure it is on a leash and away from trick-or-treaters.

Traffic safety

  • If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic and be sure to wear reflective tape on your costume so motorists can see you.
  • Remove masks before crossing the street so you can see clearly.
  • Always cross the street at corners or marked crosswalks. Never cross the road between parked cars. Make sure to look both ways before crossing, and obey all traffic laws.
  • Never run across the street.
  • Before crossing driveways, watch for cars backing out.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 3/15/2010...#5648