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Safe Trick-or-Treating

Category Advice
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 guide about safe trick-or-treat practices.


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By 2 found this helpful
October 14, 2009

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.

Children should:

  1. Travel in groups and be accompanied by an adult

  2. Go only to well lit houses

  3. Never enter a home, remain on the porch

  4. Carry a cell phone for emergencies and KNOW their home phone number

  5. Bring treats home to inspect them prior to eating

  6. Avoid flowing costumes that could be ignited by a flame or pose a tripping hazard

  7. 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)

  8. 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)

  9. Use flashlights

  10. Cross streets at crosswalks whenever possible. Do not cross between parked cars

  11. Avoid crossing unfamiliar yards which could have unseen fences, holes or pets

  12. Consider face painting instead of masks which impair vision

Parents should:

  1. Supervise children under age 12

  2. Prepare homes for ticker-treaters by clearing sidewalks, porches and lawns

  3. Keep pets indoors until the festivities have quieted down

  4. Use electric candles in pumpkins or place your pumpkin inside a window

  5. 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.

  6. Drive slowly and carefully

Have fun! Be Safe

By skibum1910 from Prospect, KY

*Editor's Note: This statistic appears to be true regarding pedestrian deaths. Scary, nonetheless.

Comment Was this helpful? 2

By 4 found this helpful
October 25, 2011

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:

By Cricket from NC

Comment Was this helpful? 4

Los Angeles Fire Department0 found this helpful
October 29, 2005
Before Halloween
  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire or on a bracelet.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories, look for and purchase only those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • Think twice before using simulated knives, guns or swords. If such props must be used, be certain they do not appear authentic and are soft and flexible to prevent injury.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • Plan ahead to use only battery powered lanterns or chemical lightsticks in place of candles in decorations and costumes.
  • This is also a great time to buy fresh batteries for your home Smoke Alarms.
  • Teach children to how call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost. Remind them that 9-1-1 can be dialed free at any payphone. (This may vary from place to place. Check in your local area if 9-1-1 is a free call
  • Review with your children the principle of "Stop-Drop-Roll", should their clothes catch on fire.
  • Openly discuss appropriate and inappropriate behavior at Halloween time.
  • Consider purchasing individually packaged healthy food alternatives (or safe non-food treats) for those who visit your home.
  • Take extra effort to eliminate tripping hazards on your porch and walkway. Check around your property for low tree limbs, support wires or garden hoses that may prove hazardous to young children rushing from house to house.
  • Learn or review CPR skills to aid someone who is choking or having a heart attack.
  • Consider safe party guidelines when hosting an Adult or Office Party.

Fun Alternatives:
  • Ask around your community and check your local newspaper for information on special events.
  • Community Centers, Shopping Malls and Houses of Worship often have organized festivities.
  • Share the fun by arranging a visit to a Retirement Home or Senior Center.
  • Create an alliance with College Fraternities, Sororities or Service Clubs for children's face painting or a carnival.

Before Nightfall on Halloween:
  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Consider fire safety when decorating. Do not overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or special effects.
  • Always keep Jack O' Lanterns and hot electric lamps away from drapes, decorations, flammable materials or areas where children will be standing or walking.
  • Plan and review with your children the route and behavior which is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when revelers must return home.
  • Along with flashlights for all, older children and escorts should wear a wristwatch and carry coins for non-emergency phone calls.
  • Confine, segregate or otherwise prepare household pets for an evening of frightful sights and sounds. Be sure that all dogs and cats are wearing collars and proper identification tags. Consult your veterinarian for further advice.
  • Remind all household drivers to remain cautious and drive slowly throughout the community.
  • Adult partygoers should establish a designated driver.

When Trick-or-Treating:
  • A Parent or responsible Adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • Remind Trick-or Treaters:
    • By using a flashlight, they can see and be seen by others.
    • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
    • Only go to homes with a porch light on.
    • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
    • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the farthest edge of the roadway facing traffic.
    • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
    • Never enter a stranger's home or car for a treat.
    • Obey all traffic and pedestrian regulations.
    • Always walk. Never run across a street.
    • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom).
    • Remove any mask or item that will limit eyesight before crossing a street, driveway or alley.
    • Don't assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will!
    • Never consume food items or drinks that may be offered.
    • No treats are to be eaten until they are thoroughly checked by an Adult at home.
    • Law Enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

After Trick-or-Treating:
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible Adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Try to apportion treats for the days following Halloween.
  • Although sharing is encouraged, make sure items that can cause choking (such as hard candies), are given only to those of an appropriate age.
Comment Was this helpful? Yes

October 25, 20050 found this helpful

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.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
October 27, 2014

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.

CommentPin It! Was this helpful? Yes

Susan Dunn, MA0 found this helpful
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.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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