Why do we need to be aware of safety more on Halloween? Is it because of the ghosts, monsters and killer clowns haunting neighborhoods? Actually, there was a strange clown thing happening a couple years ago… but that’s not why Halloween safety tips are important.
The real reason for Halloween safety is actually pretty boring and has more to do with the dangers that arise from costumes and trick or treating. There tend to be accidents from kids walking around in the dark, allergic reactions to make-ups, costume tripping hazards, and masks that obscure vision.
The good news is there are some simple things anyone can do to ensure a smooth, fun night for the entire family.
The goal with these Halloween safety tips is to help keep everyone safe and to make sure the kids have the best Halloween possible.
If you are an adult driving around on Halloween night, try to remember that kids can be excited and distracted by all the sights and sounds of the holiday.
Children may do things on Halloween night that they wouldn’t normally do, like step in front of your vehicle. Sometimes they can’t see or hear cars because of masks, or they are focused on their feet and not tripping on their costume. The best Halloween safety tip for drivers is to be patient and stay aware while driving.
(Scroll below for details on Halloween safety tips)
(Read below for details on Halloween safety tips)
• Check for makeup allergies – Buying non-toxic hypoallergenic make-up is the best policy. It’s best to test the make-up on the child’s arm a couple of hours or days before it goes on their face. This will check for an unexpected allergic response and prevent a Halloween safety issue from happening while your kids are out trick or treating.
Along these lines, I don’t recommend buying cheap make-up online this Halloween unless you know it’s reputable. This is mainly because there have been warnings about counterfeit products from China with the heavy medal “lead” in them.
• Remove make-up before bed – For Halloween safety It’s good to remove any costume make-up before bedtime. This is to prevent eye irritation and skin reactions that can pop up overnight on your kids.
• Wear comfortable shoes – There is a lot of walking while trick or treating! This is one of the Halloween safety tips that also helps with comfort. Wearing those cute shoes that came with your child’s costume will most likely lead to complaints of achy feet an hour into trick or treating.
Also, there are a lot of tripping hazards for kids on Halloween night. The sidewalks can be uneven, kids may need to go into grassy areas, and there is often a lot of going up and down front steps which provides plenty of opportunities to trip and fall.
It’s always great when kids aren’t focused on their uncomfortable costume shoes.
• Keep Costumes Short To Avoid Falls – This is a common Halloween safety issue because of the many one size fits all costumes on the market. A lot of them hang all the way down to the ground which can make kids trip and fall.
In my house we always did the safety-pin dance on Halloween night to try to get my Halloween costume under control. My mom would find enough safety pins to get the dragging parts up so that I could walk down our front steps without falling.
This always worked great… for about an hour until one of the pins came out or the material ripped. From there I spent the rest of the night using the pins that didn’t get lost to try to keep the front of the costume off my feet, but it was usually a losing battle by the end of the night.
Maybe it was all the movement with walking or the thin costume materials. I’m not sure, but looking back I never complained about it and we did the same think almost every year which is pretty funny.
Hemming the costume is the best way to get it out of the way, but not everyone is in a position to hem their child’s costume (No judgement, I don’t hem either).
Another temporary fix is to use safety pins or other devices to pin the materials up, but I don’t recommend sending the kids out with safety pins unless an adult is along to handle any Halloween wardrobe malfunctions.
If safety pins are the only option and the costume material is thin, it can help to pin a piece of thicker material between the two thin layers to prevent the layers from ripping.
A non-reversible solution is to cut the costume to get it out of the way. This may seem drastic but it really is annoying to have to mess with a costume all night. The infomercial is right, everyone wants to “set it and forget it!”
• Have A Dress Rehearsal – This is something that can save a lot of stress when everyone is getting ready on Halloween. It’s a good idea to have the kids try on their costumes early. This is a good time to check if they can see out any masks, walk freely without tripping, etc.
Doing this at least two days before Halloween is the best way to have a dress rehearsal so there is time to pick up any little items needed to adjust the costumes.
Sometimes the costume just needs some crazy glue to tighten the elastic, or thread to sew up a piece that hangs. These items can be hard to find when there is only 30 minutes left to get everyone ready. However, with a couple of days it’s easier to stop by a store and grab some crazy glue or needle and thread. Plus this leaves time to craft any costume changes.
I know it is a bit of a hassle to get them dressed ahead of time, but the children enjoy it and and you can determine if their will be any Halloween safety issues. Also, it will pay off when they get to run around and be kids Halloween night without falling or being half blind because of costume issues.
The dress rehearsal can also help find things that will break or snap in the first 5 minutes of wearing, which is great to find out before Halloween night.
• Wear Masks That Fit Well To Maintain Vision – For Halloween safety It’s actually recommended to avoid masks altogether and just use wigs and make up. However, sometimes you find yourself in a situation where the kids are going to be wearing a mask, so it’s good to be prepared.
If they end up wearing a mask, always make sure it fits them well enough to see clearly through the eye holes. This may mean cutting the holes bigger, glueing more padding to the inside, or tightening up the string. Modifying these things can take some time, but it’s important that children can clearly see in front of them while celebrating Halloween.
This is one of the more important Halloween safety tips for trick or treating as it helps to avoid being hit by cars, bikes, and other pedestrians. It will also help children see falling hazards better.
It’s also hard for kids to feel part of a group when they can’t see or hear what’s going on around them.
Reflective Tape On Costumes And Treat Bags – This is one of the easier Halloween safety tips to dismiss, but it’s really simple to do and will help drivers see children, even in dark areas.
This is great because it’s something that will passively keep the children safe on Halloween night without requiring them to actively do or remember anything.
It can also help keep a group of kids safe by making one child in the group more noticeable. So even if your child is the only one with reflective tape on their trick or treat bag and costume, they can help draw attention to the kids near them.
Reflective tape is easy to find and can probably be found at a local store near you, (I will put a link below to reflective tape for fabrics that is stick on for anyone who prefers having it delivered to their doorstep) be aware when buying in stores these tapes come in both stick on or sew on.
Use Flame-Resistant Everything – This one is pretty important because of all the open flames around on Halloween. A lot of decorations like jack-o-lanterns may have candles inside, putting kids at risk for brushing over them with costumes. The solution? Buy costumes, wigs, accessories, that are marked flame resistant.
However, it can be more difficult to do this when buying online costumes, so it’s always good to check the listings for flame retardant clothing materials. Sometimes the seller may not list the materials or what is written on the tag, which is why this can be more difficult when shopping online.
This Halloween safety tip is important to be aware of when planning to make costumes at home with do it yourself materials. It’s important to avoid highly flammable fabrics and things like flammable spray on glitters for DIY costumes.
When making DIY costumes, it’s good to stay away from natural fibers and instead use synthetics when possible. To be more specific good fabrics to use are items like nylon, polyester, wool, and acrylic fabrics.
• Teach your kids stop drop and roll – The chances are pretty slim that anything will happen to the kids while trick or treating. However, it’s good to prepare your kids so they know what to do if they ever see or experience a costume fire. There are a lot of fun fire safety videos geared towards children with stop drop and roll directions. Here is a quick Halloween video that’s good to use to teach and then practice with kids.
Fire isn’t something you want to think about, but you can make practicing fun for your kids. They will usually enjoy rolling around and shouting out each step if you keep it fun.
These Halloween safety tips are here to make the night safe and fun for kids of all ages.
These are all some Halloween safety tips for costumes that many parents can accomplish without too much trouble. If possible, set aside some time to go over your child’s costume with them before Halloween.
A good time to do this is while watching TV or listening to music. While doing this make a note of any changes that can be made during some spare time before Halloween.
• Make Sure Children Eat Before Leaving – This is to make sure they don’t eat a bunch of candy while out trick or treating and get a stomach ache. It’s also to discourage them from eating suspicious candies before their parents can inspect them. If the kids aren’t very hungry, they will eat less candy and make better decisions about choosing which candies to eat.
• Plan your route ahead of time – This can help make your trick or treating night go smoother. It also allows you to plan on stopping by friend’s houses, making bathroom stops and setting up a lost zone. A lost zone is a Halloween safety spot set up for friends and family to meet at if someone gets separated from the group.
• Take A Flashlight Or Use Glow Sticks – For optimal Halloween safety at least one adult escorting the kids trick or treating should carry a flashlight. This is for the dark areas of the street and for any off-roading the group may have to do. A lot of houses are dark on purpose as part of their spooky Halloween design so it’s good to have a light to shine for the kids to go up and down steps and street curbs.
With younger kids, you may also want the light in case they get too scared at someones door so you can make a quick escape and move on to the next house.
Children can also carry a flashlight if they are going out without their parent, but depending on their age you might not want to give them their own light to hold.
So let’s say a child is going with a group of friends and will have some other adult trick or treating with them. You probably don’t want to give them a flashlight because if all the kids bring their own flashlight it will make for a chaotic time for the parent in charge. In this case, glow sticks are great alternative.
They are inexpensive and usually come with a necklace so they can hang around the child’s neck or attach around their waist. Depending on the age of the children, one glow stick can hang on them and another one can be in their trick or treat bag for the child to pull out and use like a flashlight when they want to.
Something important to know about glow sticks is they have broken glass inside once they are activated. Therefore, it’s important not to give them to any children who might eat or chew them.
• Walk On Sidewalks When Possible – It’s effective to teach young kids by example to walk on the sidewalk during trick or treating. Sometimes there won’t be a sidewalk for stretches of road and this is a good time to show kids how to walk on the side of the street facing traffic, keeping to the far edge of the road.
If you’ve already taught your children road safety, Halloween can be a good time of year to check if they remember the rules of the road. It’s also a good opportunity to remind them as they get older. Telling children out loud what you’re doing to stay safe, is a great way to teach them pedestrian safety as they age. For example, you can say “I’m stopping here and looking both ways to see if there are cars coming so I know it’s safe.”
If you want more information about this topic there is a good, free online guide about teaching children how to walk safely as they grow up. It’s written for parents and caregivers and what I like best about it is how they have different age groups with information like what children are capable of doing and learning at their age.
Other street Halloween safety tips are to look both ways before crossing streets, use crosswalks when possible, and to always follow the directions given by crossing signals on Halloween. Obviously these official crossings won’t always be available but the kids should try to use them when they can because cars will be more alert for pedestrians at these crossings.
• Avoid candles & open flames in pumpkins and decorations – There are often decorations with candles and open flames on the ground during Halloween. For Halloween safety, it’s good to teach kids to be aware of these decorations and to avoid standing with their costume near the flames.
• Don’t Go Trick Or Treating Alone – This is one of the more obvious Halloween safety tips. It’s always preferred to have kids go trick or treating with friends or with an adult.
Older kids will probably want to go with friends so this shouldn’t be too hard. However, a teenager planning to go alone may need to be encouraged to bring friends. A couple of ways to encourage an older child is by volunteering to pick up their friend or by driving them to a friend’s house so they can meet up with friends for trick or treating.
Why shouldn’t they go alone? There is the obvious Halloween safety reason… a child walking alone is more likely to be harassed by an adult than a group of people, or even a couple of kids would be. Another more subtle reason is that Halloween night is a time for pranks, and getting pranked when your alone is more traumatizing than getting pranked with a friend or friends around.
I have been egged and chased on Halloween both alone (I was on my way home from a friends after trick or treating) and when I was with a friend. Both of them were all in good fun. When I was with a friend we both ran for our lives and we laughed about the whole thing later, proudly telling our friends about our brave escape from the High School Seniors who tried to egg us.
The difference when I was alone is that I felt actual fear of what they would do if they caught me and I felt embarrassment that I was chosen to be egged. I didn’t tell my friends or family about the car full of seniors that chased me when I was alone because without a friend it didn’t feel funny and I didn’t feel proud that I had escaped them.
This is just an example of how things are just better for kids on Halloween night if they have a friend around.
Maybe it’s a weirdo in a clown suit scaring people or someone stealing candy. No matter what happens out there, they will have more Halloween fun and keep a better perspective if they have someone with them… and you can worry less.
• Only Eat Factory Wrapped Treats – Eating candies that are in their original packaging is a good Halloween safety policy. Children who go trick or treating without an adult should be taught ahead of time not to eat anything wrapped in wax-paper, plastic wrap, or have loose wrappers while they are out trick or treating.
This teaching can be included as a part of checking their Halloween candy each year. You can point out and set aside suspicious looking candies. It’s important to tell them that the candy is probably fine, but you are just being safe. You don’t want your child to think they were actually given a bunch of poisoned candies. My dad would put the suspicious ones aside and often eat them himself, including the fruits.
In a perfect world kids wouldn’t eat anything until they get home, but realistically they will probably do some snacking, so it’s important they know what normal factory wrapped candy looks like and only eat brands they recognize.
• An adult should inspect candy at home – The last of the Halloween safety tips is to check all the kid’s trick or treat candy and make sure there aren’t any faded, suspicious, or home-made treats from strangers. After the kids get home, an adult should inspect all the candy under good lighting. Some things you want to look for when inspecting Halloween candy are discoloration, tiny holes, an unusual appearance and loose wrappers.
Homemade items, fruit, and baked goods shouldn’t be given to children unless you are familiar with who gave them.
There are still people out there who give out apples or other fruit to make Halloween healthier and it’s a personal choice whether to inspect the fruit or toss it out. For those who do decide to keep the fruit, I recommend washing them and slicing them up to serve instead of giving them to children whole. This makes it easier to inspect them and make sure there isn’t anything weird about them.
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