The practice of trick-or-treating has been popular in the US for decades. Kids have great fun dressing up in costume and collecting the tasty treats. However, there are some steps parents can take to ensure that this is also a safe activity. This is a page about safe trick-or-treat practices.
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Did you know that 4 times as many children ages 4-15 are killed on Halloween evening as compared to other evenings of the year?* Falls are another leading cause of injury on Halloween. Follow these safety precautions and keep safe on this SCARY night.
- Travel in groups and be accompanied by an adult
- Go only to well lit houses
- Never enter a home, remain on the porch
- Carry a cell phone for emergencies and KNOW their home phone number
- Bring treats home to inspect them prior to eating
- Avoid flowing costumes that could be ignited by a flame or pose a tripping hazard
- Avoid costume accessories with sharp edges that could cause injury if you were to fall on it (replace a plastic sword with one made of foam)
- Have their name, address and phone number on the INSIDE of their costume in the event of an injury (use an address label on the hem of the costume and at the back closure)
- Use flashlights
- Cross streets at crosswalks whenever possible. Do not cross between parked cars
- Avoid crossing unfamiliar yards which could have unseen fences, holes or pets
- Consider face painting instead of masks which impair vision
- Supervise children under age 12
- Prepare homes for ticker-treaters by clearing sidewalks, porches and lawns
- Keep pets indoors until the festivities have quieted down
- Use electric candles in pumpkins or place your pumpkin inside a window
- Inspect all candy before allowing it to be consumed. Throw away any home-made treats unless you know the people who have made it. Throw away unwrapped candies or wrappers that are not intact.
- Drive slowly and carefully
Have fun! Be Safe
By Diana from Prospect, KY
*Editor's Note: This statistic appears to be true regarding pedestrian deaths. Scary, nonetheless.
Halloween is around the corner, and people everywhere are looking forward to being scared and dressing up in costumes. The same is not true for dogs or cats, however. The mischief for which the holiday is infamous present a myriad of potential dangers that can take dogs, cats, and their owners completely by surprise.
If you want to include your dog in your Halloween celebration, make it an event that is safe and enjoyable for both of you. Here are some tips:
- People love Halloween candy and so do dogs, but while candy is a great treat for us, dog owners need to make sure that it's not accessible to their animals. Most owners know that chocolate is poisonous for dogs, but so is almost everything else that you'd find in a trick-or-treat bag. Artificial sweeteners, raisins, and other candy items can mean serious health hazards or even death for dogs. The wrappers can be ingested and cause choking. Keep healthy, natural-ingredient dog treats on hand for your dog and other dogs that might show up at your door. Just before opening the door, you might give your dog a tiny treat.
- Your dog potentially could be hit by eggs or other thrown objects if left out in the yard alone. It's better to be safe than sorry. Keep your dog safe from Halloween tricks by keeping it in the house and not alone in the yard.
- If you're having a party, make sure your dog is in another room. Dogs are curious about strangers in the home, and even familiar people can cause confusion and stress when dressed strangely. Dogs may be frightened by unusual costumes, especially those with flashing lights or odd sounds such as a monster voice or high-pitched witch's screech. A party also presents additional food challenges. Make sure the human treats, especially alcoholic drinks, are not accessible to your dog.
- Decorations and dogs are usually a bad pairing. New objects in the house are likely to arouse your dog's or cat's curiosity, and it could get tangled on light cords or accidentally knock over candles. Cornstalks and pumpkins look great outside, but could be tempting chewing material if within your dog's reach in your home. If your dog swallows any of these substances, it might suffer an upset stomach or more serious intestinal problems.
- If your dog is OK with wearing a costume, make sure the costume is comfortable, not too warm, and doesn't have any parts that could be chewed, swallowed, or tripped on. Have your dog try on the costume a few times before the big night, and if it seems uncomfortable, allergic, or frightened, don't force the issue. A Halloween bandana or an orange collar and leash are good alternatives for dogs who don't like costumes for elaborate costumes. Most dogs are OK wearing sweaters, so if you do buy a costume for him, make it one that resembles a sweater in the way it's made. And make sure there are no flashing lights or noises on it either. They would only frighten your dog.
- Many people will put their dog in a bedroom or another room while trick or treaters are coming. Although the idea behind this is good, it's actually worse on the dog. Keeping your dog in another room when the doorbell is constantly ringing is extremely upsetting for him. The dog is simply trying to protect it's owners and by putting him in another room you are stopping him from protecting you and the dog will get even more upset every time the door rings.
- A better method is to barricade a section around the front door, or to barricade a section of the living room. The barricade will make it so that the dog can not get to the door, but it can still see who's there. Teach the dog to quiet down when you tell him he's barked enough. I taught mine (by squirting them in the butt to get their attention, then saying "enough" very sternly till they hushed. It didn't hurt them at all and they learned quickly, only a few squirts. After that all I had to do was pick up the bottle. They are allowed to bark at the door until I open it and then I say "enough", then they quiet down. The dog needs to see that you are safe and there's no danger at the door.
- Cats on the other hand, should be put in a bedroom, but I usually set up a table or chair for her to sit on at the window if she wants. This way I don't have to worry about her scooting out the door if she gets scared with all the commotion at the door. And she can watch safely, but leave the window as she pleases.
By Cricket from NC
Los Angeles Fire Department
October 29, 2005
Some great before, during and after Halloween Safety Tips. Many you may know but here's a really complete list of what you need to know to have a safe and happy Halloween.
It sounds so simple and yet so few parents do it. ACCOMPANY your children around your neighbourhood. Not only does it keep them safe, it allows you to meet new neighbours and to promote goodwill with in your area.Read More...
FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) is promoting the use of a Teal Pumpkin to identify your house as somewhere that kids with food allergies can get non-food treats. This lets kids with food allergies, lactose intolerance, or other reasons they can't eat traditional candy treats know that they can safely trick-or-treat at your home.
Susan Dunn, MA
October 8, 2004
Before going trick or treating, go over the rules with your children. Because it's an exciting night and emotions can affect clear thinking and "remembering," go over them several times.Read More...