Here at the OCDE Boos-room, we like our Halloweens spooky, but we’re also pretty big on safety. So we decided to search the interwebs for a few helpful tips and strategies designed to ensure your little ghouls, ghosts and superheroes have a safe, fun and bountiful trick-or-treating session.
Let’s begin with what to know before you go.
Choose costumes that are bright and reflective, or consider reflective tape, glow sticks or light-up accessories to accompany darker costumes. Equip kids with flashlights, but check the batteries beforehand to make sure they’re good to glow.
Make sure shoes fit well and outfits are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with open flames. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, non-toxic makeup and decorative hats are considered safer alternatives to masks that can hinder your vision.
If older children are going alone, plan and review a route that’s appropriate — and agree on a specific time when they’ll return. You may also want to warn younger kids that they might see things that look scary and have “what if?” conversations to prepare children for contingencies.
To that point, it’s wise to make sure your gaggle of trick-or-treaters has at least one cellphone for quick communication.
Out and about
Trick-or-treaters should patrol well-lit streets and always use sidewalks. If there isn’t a sidewalk available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic. Try not to cut across yards and avoid alleys.
Only go to homes with lit porch lights, and make sure children never enter a home or car for a treat.
Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks, and never cross between parked cars.
Don’t assume the right of way — motorists may have trouble spotting trick-or-treaters. Remember that just because one car stops, that doesn’t mean others will.
And if you’re the one driving, be mindful that kids are super excited on Halloween and will sometimes move in unpredictable ways.
Police should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity, and make sure children also know to call 9-1-1 if they get lost.
On the homefront
To light your jack-o-lantern, consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove any tripping hazards, such as garden hoses, toys, bikes or lawn decorations.
It’s also a good idea to restrain pets so they don’t jump on or bite trick-or-treaters — or head out on their own Halloween night adventures. (Sorry, Snoopy.)
Make sure to check your child’s candy when he or she gets home to make sure everything is sealed and safe to eat. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and discard any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items — or homemade goodies that haven’t been made by someone you know.
A version of this post was originally published in 2018.