Written by Belinda Huang 

Candy, witches, and mayhem galore! Halloween is a great non-denominational holiday to celebrate as a family by dressing up, decorating, and trick or treating. But these fun activities can also be dangerous if you’re not prepared. Here are some great ways to keep your family safe this Halloween:

1. Stick together and have a plan
During Halloween, with everyone dressed up and not looking like themselves, it is important that everyone knows not to go off with strangers, even if they are dressed up like police officers or superheroes. Before you go outside, emphasize the importance of staying with your group of trusted friends and family. Make sure everyone has a buddy and you have an accurate count of your children. And designate a special place for anyone who gets lost or separated, whether it’s back to your house or at a local landmark.

2. Practice road safety
One of the biggest risks during trick or treating is getting in a car or pedestrian accident.  As the night gets darker and energy levels rise, it’s easy for kids to run out onto the road and get hurt, and it’s hard for parents to stop them. Halloween is by far the deadliest day of the year for children on the road, as research shows. If you’re out and about, cross the street together and keep children nearby. If you’re driving, be aware of your surroundings and go slow.

3. Choose sensible costumes
Dressing up is a big part of what makes Halloween fun, but there are things to consider when choosing a costume. Children will have to walk and run outside, so be careful of tripping hazards like long cloaks or special shoes. Try to avoid black costumes as they make finding a child in the dark even harder. Make sure children can see out of any masks or headpieces. And if there’s going to be fire anywhere, many costumes are made with synthetic materials that catch fire easily. Be aware!

4. Pick your houses with care
Even if your children want to go to every house, there’s good reason to take care with which houses you approach. Not everyone wants to see trick or treaters, so you can avoid an awkward or angry situation for your children with some common sense thinking. Make sure you go to houses that are well lit and inviting, where other children are also going. Encourage your neighborhood to work together on a Halloween trail with families committed to providing safe candy and a pleasant experience.

5. Be careful with fire
If your family likes to light candles and put them into pumpkins to create jack o’lanterns, then fire is a real risk for Halloween time. Be careful about letting children too close to the fire, especially if part of their costume might be flammable. Be conscious of paper decorations near heaters, candles, or even string lights, as they are all known to cause fire on occasion. Statistics show that 41% of fire incidents start from a candle, so consider purchasing flame-less replacements.

6. Think about food safety
It’s crucial to keep an eye on what your child is receiving while they trick or treat. This might be because of allergies, choking hazards, or occasionally malicious intent. A good rule of thumb is that anything that is out of a wrapper should not be consumed for safety. This might include loose gummy bears, pieces of fruit, or unwrapped chocolate. Better (and healthier!) to be safe than sorry. The Food and Drug Administration has more suggestions on safe Halloween food practices.

7. Use glow sticks or mini-flashlights
If kids are too young to have and use a phone, providing glow sticks or flashlights is a good way to make sure everyone feels safe at night. It might seem like a pain to make sure every child has a glow stick bracelet or flashlight, but it could make a big difference in a scary situation where you think someone has gone missing. Another way to do this is to have part of their costume be reflective, like a mirror or metal piece, so children are easier to spot.

Halloween should be a time of fun and excitement! Enjoy the evening with some peace of mind with these simple tips, and stay safe!


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