Halloween for most kids is all about how much candy they can collect while trick or treating. However, as adults that accompany our young ones, we need to be aware of the risk associated with trick or treating. In 2017 alone, 7,450 pedestrians lost their lives in traffic and non-traffic (e.g., driveways, parking lots and private property) areas with 3700 of those incidents occurring during the month of October. The most concerning Halloween statistic is that the chances of a vehicle striking a child are doubled during Halloween activities (NSC 2019).
Below are a few tips to help make this Halloween a safe one.
- If possible, use fire-resistant material for costumes and props (NSC 2019).
- Use face paint instead of face masks to prevent vision and depth perception risks (NSC 2019).
- Select non-toxic face paint and apply a small sample to a selected test area on the skin to make sure you or your child doesn’t have an allergic reaction (NSC 2019).
- If available, use costumes with built-in reflective material.Consider attaching reflective tape to selected areas on the costume and candy bags or baskets (NSC 2019).
- Consider applying a tag to your child’s costumer that includes their name and phone number in case your child is separated from the group (KH 2018).
- Carry chemically lit glow sticks to increase visibility when walking from house to house (NSC 2019).
- Use a flashlight in dark and low-lit areas (KH 2018).
- Ensure all face paint is completely removed before allowing kids to go to bed, as some paints can cause skin and eye irritability if left overnight (NSC 2019).
Trick or treating
- Make a plan for at least one adult to accompany every group of kids (NSC 2019).
- There is safety in numbers, so trick or treat as a group when possible (KH 2018).
- If older kids (i.e., teenagers), are going to trick or treat without constant adult supervision, establish an agreed-upon plan in which only approved routes are used and effective communication methods are determined (NSC 2019).
- Set a curfew for older children to return to their homes (NSC 2019).
- Instruct children to walk rather than run (KH 2018).
- Instruct your children to never enter a stranger’s car or home (NSC 2019).
- Don’t let your children eat any treats until they are inspected and deemed safe to consume by an adult (NSC 2019).
- Keep your eyes on the path ahead of you and use only approved designated crosswalks when crossing the street (NSC 2019).
- Don’t use cell phones while walking as this can cause you to trip and fall or inadvertently, cross into high traffic areas (NSC 2019).
Tips for motorists
- Drive slowly in high pedestrian-traffic areas and constantly be on the lookout for pedestrians (NSC 2019).
- Be extremely careful when exiting and entering driveways or alleyways (NSC 2019).
- Be cautious while driving around children wearing dark colored clothing (NSC 2019).
- Consider a person’s driving experience during this time of year and make sure a more experienced driver is behind the wheel (NSC 2019).
National Safety Council (NSC). 2019. Halloween Safety On and Off the Road. Available from: https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/autumn/halloween.
Kids Health (KH). 2018. Halloween Safety Tips. Available from: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/halloween.html