Halloween Safety: 13 Tips for Trick-or-Treating
Look out behind you: hear comes Halloween—that magical holiday when kids' imaginations soar and anything seems possible!
But Halloween has a spooky side, too. From carving pumpkins to skipping around after dark, Halloween offers its own unique hazards. For example, did you know that kids are four times more likely to be struck by a car on Halloween? That's what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found after studying more than 20 years of statistics from the National Highway Safety Commission.¹ Now, that's truly scary!
So, as you prepare for the Big Night, and then escort your little trick-or-treater on his rounds, practice good safety habits, including these 13 tips.
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- Always stay on the sidewalk, if there is one. No sidewalk? Stick close to the curb, facing oncoming traffic.
- Never choose the shortest route over the safest one. Emphasize the importance of crossing only at corners. Crossing mid-block increases your risk of an accident.
- Remind kids to look both ways (left-right-left) before crossing the street, and don't assume that motorists will yield to you.
- Limit your territory to familiar streets and neighbors. Make it clear if certain areas or houses are off-limits. There's advantages to trick-or-treating with a group: there's safety in numbers, and it's more fun!
- Don't wait until Halloween to layout the trick-or-treating ground rules; kids will be too excited to pay close attention. Instead, start reviewing your safety rules several weeks in advance.
- Halloween is a great time to remind kids about stranger danger! Teach your child to be polite but cautious around neighbors they haven't met, and to never, ever enter a stranger's home or car.
- Beware of black cats and other nocturnal critters. Halloween, with its constantly ringing doorbells and throngs of people, can make even calm pets nervous. Advise your child to steer clear of pets she doesn't know, and consider removing your own pet from all the action.
- This one is never popular, but don't let kids sample their treats until you inspect them. To lessen the disappointment, serve up a fun, Halloween-themed meal first. How about a Worm Sandwich (hot dogs cut into squiggly strips, curled up on a bun)? Or Spaghetti and Eyeballs (with strategically-placed olives embedded into the meatballs)?
- Although food tampering is rare, inspect your child's candy closely. Discard those with loose wrappings and homemade treats (unless you personally know the baker). Remove choking hazards and age-inappropriate goodies.
- Set rules regarding candy consumption, starting on Halloween night. It's no coincidence that physicians see a rise in upset stomachs after Halloween!
- Spook-proof your yard for visiting trick-or-treaters. Clear the walkway of wet leaves and other obstacles; turn on all the lights. If your decorations require extension cords, get them out of the way.
- As far as Jack o' Lanterns go, never let young children near carving tools. Non-toxic paint, stickers, and push-in picks are safe decorating alternatives. Or let your child draw the face, while you do the carving. Instead of candles, illuminate your pumpkin with a safe, battery-operated alternative.
- Falls are the leading cause of accidental injuries on Halloween, according to the National Safety Council. So shorten that hem, leave the high heels home, and safety-proof that costume. And then have a BOO-tiful Halloween!