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Halloween Safety Tips

Anna Mendenhall, MD, FAAP


Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).


  1. Provide costumes that are bright and reflective.
  2. Make sure that shoes fit well and costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  3. Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags for greater visibility.
  4. Consider non-toxic makeup/face painting and decorative hats as safer alternatives because masks can limit or block eyesight.  Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
  5. When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  6. If a sword, cane or stick is a part of your child’s costume (not recommended for safety), make sure it is not sharp or too long.  A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  7. Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  8. Teach children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.


CARVING A NICHE: Small children should never carve pumpkins!

  1. Children can draw on a face with markers but parents do the cutting.
  2. Strongly consider using a battery-powered “flameless” candle, flashlight or glow stick instead of a fire-lit candle to light your pumpkin.  If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
  3. Candle-lit pumpkins should be placed on sturdy surfaces, away from curtains and other flammable objects and should never be left unattended.


HOME SAFE HOME: To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters;

  1. Parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations
  2. Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  3. Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  4. Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.


ON THE TRICK-OR-TREAT TRAIL: A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds!

  1. If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you.
  2. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  3. 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:

  1. Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
  2. Carry a cell phone for quick communication.
  3. Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  4. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
  5. Never cut across yards or use alleys.
  6. Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom).  Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
  7. 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!
  8. Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.


HEALTHY HALLOWEEN: A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats!

  •  Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
  • 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 following Halloween.