Tips to keep your trick-or-treaters safe
Published: September 28, 2019
By: Kimberly Blaker
For decades, parents have heeded warnings of the dangers of trick-or-treating. Wives tales and gross exaggerations about apples containing razor blades and poison-filled candy worry countless parents every Halloween. While parents should always remain vigilant, experts have debunked these mistaken notions and hoaxes.
STRANGER AND ACQUAINTANCE DANGERS
However, one risk to children on Halloween, or any time of year, is child predators — though studies have shown the incidence doesn’t increase on Halloween. Still, parents should take precautions and educate their kids before they head out without adult supervision.
To keep your kids safe from stranger and acquaintance dangers on Halloween:
- Young children should be attended by an adult when trick-or-treating.
- Older kids should trick-or-treat with a friend or preferably in a group.
- Tell your kids not to step inside the homes or cars of strangers or even acquaintances you don’t approve of. Also, tell them what to say if they’re invited in, so they’re prepared. Your child can be direct and simply say, “My parents told me I have to wait outside.”
- Give your kids a curfew so you know what time to expect them home.
- Know what route they plan to take. Make sure it’s in safe neighborhoods and they won’t have to walk through secluded areas to get there.
- Only go to houses with porch lights on.
- Have kids carry a cell phone, and make sure they know how to use it to dial 9-1-1.
- Add a tracking app to their phone, such as Family Tracker, Glympse, Footprints, FamilySignal, or Life360.
TRAFFIC AND COSTUME DANGERS
Most risks to your child on Halloween are safety issues involving traffic and costumes. Have your kids follow these Halloween safety tips for a fun-filled evening without incident:
- Make sure costumes, masks and shoes fit well. Costumes shouldn’t drag on the ground, posing a tripping hazard. Avoid high heels.
- Avoid masks. Instead use makeup and well-fitting hats or wigs so vision isn’t obstructed.
- Try to find flame-resistant costumes, and make sure kids keep their distance from candle lit pumpkins and luminaries.
- If walking on roads, walk facing the oncoming traffic. Where possible, stay off the road completely.
- When crossing streets, use crosswalks if possible, and look both ways twice. If at a stop sign or light, make sure traffic comes to a complete halt before crossing.
- Don’t cross the street between parked cars or where drivers’ views might be obstructed.
- Carry a flashlight so cars and bicycles can easily spot you. Also, wear something reflective or add reflective tape to costumes and bags. Wearing a glow stick is another option.
- Make sure props such as swords and knives are short, soft and flexible to avoid injury to your kids or others.
- Don’t wear colored contact lenses unless they’re prescribed for the child wearing them. If they’re non-prescription lenses solely to change eye color, they can cause severe eye damage.
SAFETY TIPS FOR VISITING TRICK-OR-TREATERS
- Keep cords and tripping hazards out of your driveway and walkway.
- Use glow sticks or solar lights in pumpkins and luminaries rather than candles.
- Pass out sealed candy. Otherwise, many parents won’t allow their child to eat it.
- Keep pets away from trick-or-treaters. Costumes and excited children can scare pets and lead to unexpected behavior.