The excitement of Halloween can cause children to forget to be careful. There is no real "trick" to making Halloween a real treat for the entire family. The major dangers are not from witches or spirits but rather from falls and pedestrian/car crashes. Both children and adults need to think about safety.
The National Safety Council urges motorists to be especially alert on Halloween
Before children start out on their "trick or treat" rounds, parents should
- Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.
- Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
- At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.
Beware of costume hazards
- Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for children under age 12.
- Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow. Know the names of older children's companions.
- Instruct your children to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route.
- Teach your children to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lit and never to enter a stranger's home.
- Establish a return time.
- Tell your youngsters not to eat any treat until they return home.
- Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian/traffic safety rules.
- Pin a slip of paper with the child's name, address and phone number inside a pocket in case the youngster gets separated from the group.
Masks vs. face design
- Make sure costumes are designed using only fire-retardant materials.
- Costumes should be loose so warm clothes can be worn underneath.
- Costumes should not be so long that they are a tripping hazard. (Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween.)
- If children are allowed out after dark, outfits should be made with light colored materials. Strips of retro-reflective tape should be used to make children visible.
- Masks can obstruct a child's vision. Use facial make-up instead.
- When buying special Halloween makeup, check for packages containing ingredients that are labeled "Made with US Approved Color Additives," "Laboratory Tested," Meets Federal Standards for Cosmetics," or "Non-Toxic." Follow manufacturer's instruction for application.
- If masks are worn, they should have nose and mouth openings and large eye holes.
Children should understand and follow these rules
- Knives, swords and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials. Do not allow children to carry sharp objects.
- Bags or sacks carried by youngsters should be light-colored or trimmed with retro-reflective tape if children are allowed out after dark.
- Carrying flashlights will help children see better and be seen more clearly.
To ensure a safe trick-or-treat outing, parents are urged to
- Do not enter homes or apartments without adult supervision.
- Walk, do not run, from house to house. Do not cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards.
- Walk on sidewalks, not in the street.
- Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic if there are no sidewalks.
- Give children an early meal before going out.
- Insist that treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten.
- Wash fruit and slice into small pieces.
- When in doubt, throw it out.