If your kids are like mine, they’ve been counting down the days until Halloween since October 1. It’s an exciting holiday — playing dress-up, running around the neighborhood, and consuming all of those sugary treats!
While it is a fun holiday, it’s important to be diligent about safety — especially when traveling by foot at night. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), October 31 is the most dangerous night of the year for youngsters walking on American roadways. In fact, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year, according to kidssafe.org.
The statistic makes sense. It’s Halloween. Kids are excited. They’re dressed up. They’re not paying attention. And on top of it all, it’s dark. With an estimated more than 41 million trick-or-treaters heading out this year, here are some practical tips to help keep all of those little ghosts and goblins safe while traveling door-to-door:
11 Safety Tips for Trick-Or-Treaters on Halloween
- Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers. If possible, choose light colors for costumes. Since masks can sometimes obstruct a child’s vision, try nontoxic face paint and makeup when possible.
- Have kids use glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
- Supervise children under the age of 12. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, remind them to stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
- Make sure the costume is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
- Cross streets at the corner, use crosswalks when available, and never cross the street between parked cars.
- Write your child’s name, address, and phone number in their costume in case they get lost.
- Teach your child to only approach well-lit houses and remain on the porch, rather than entering the house.
- Instruct your child to stay away from animals you don’t know, and refrain from petting them.
- Choose flame-resistant materials for costumes to avoid potential burn injuries. And be particularly aware of open flames in jack-o’-lanterns.
- Tell your kids to bring their candy home to be inspected before they eat anything.
- Instruct your child to trick-or-treat in groups and in familiar settings.
Health and Safety Tips for Handing Out Candy to Trick-or-treaters
- Consider offering healthier alternatives, such as single-serve packages of low-fat crackers with cheese, boxes of cereal, packaged fruit rolls, raisins, or low-fat popcorn.
- Or, offer non-food treats such as plastic rings, pencils, stickers, erasers, or coins.
- Keep your house well lit and the front yard clear of any tripping hazards such as garden hoses.
- Use a battery-operated candle instead of a flame in your jack-o’-lanterns, to prevent potential fire hazards.
- Keep pets confined and away from the door.