6 Important Halloween Safety Tips for Families

Essential tips to know to keep your kids safe and healthy on Halloween

Halloween safety, face paint
Using non-toxic face paint instead of masks and other Halloween safety tips can keep kids safer while trick-or-treating and having fun. KidStock/Getty Images

Halloween is one of the most fun holidays for children and parents. But when you are celebrating this fun holiday with your family, it's important to keep some crucial safety tips in mind to keep everyone safe. Here are some important Halloween safety tips for home and trick-or-treating outdoors.

  1. Talk about safety tips with your child repeatedly over several days before you go trick-or-treating.
    Kids will be too excited about going trick-or-treating to hear you if you bring up safety tips right before going out the door on Halloween. Another advantage of talking about safety tips beforehand: Young children often benefit from repetition. If you talk about how important it is to cross the road holding your hand, they are more likely to remember it if you’ve repeated the tip a few times before Halloween.
  1. Be mindful about road safety.
    Safe Kids Worldwide estimates that on average, twice as many kids are killed while walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year. Some tips to keep in mind about safety on the road on Halloween:
    • Kids will be out while it’s dark, so it’s hard for them to see and hard for drivers of cars to see them. Consider having your child carry a flashlight or glow stick.
    • Kids are excited about getting candy. They may dart across the street without checking for cars.
    • Children often cannot see well when wearing masks, big hats, and other costume accessories that can obstruct their vision.
  2. Check costumes for fit and safety.
    Loose-fitting costumes, sharp objects or pins, and masks can all pose risks. Choose accessories like swords that are flexible—not rigid or sharp. Other tips to keep in mind about costume safety:
    • If your child is wearing a mask, hold her hand while crossing the street.
    • If possible, use non-toxic face paint on your child rather than a mask.
    • Try to avoid costumes that are billowing or too long since they increase the chances that a child will trip or catch fire if they are near a candle.
    • Sew reflective materials on your child’s costume if it doesn’t already come with them.
  1. Don’t let young children trick-or-treat alone.
    Safety experts recommend that parents go trick-or-treating with children under 12 and walk closely with them while crossing the street. A Safe Kids Worldwide survey found that as many as 12 percent of kids 5 and under are permitted by parents to trick or treat alone without them.

    Keep your kids close to you especially if you are going to a town Halloween parade or gathering. Remember, the streets will be very crowded, and kids will be in costumes, making it difficult to spot your child in a crowd if you get separated. Have a plan in case you do get separated: Make sure your child has memorized your cell phone number and emphasize that she must ask a mom with kids for help. (Read more about what to teach your child to do if she is lost.)
  1. Check Halloween treats before your child eats them.
    • Tell your child that you must check any treats before they can be eaten. Throw away any candy that has a torn or faded wrapper or no wrapper at all.
    • For small children, check to make sure you remove any candies or toys that are choking hazards.
    • Fill your kids up with healthy treats before you go trick or treating (such as veggies with dip or whole grain pita with hummus); that way, they’ll be less likely to gorge themselves on unhealthy treats while trick-or-treating.
  2. Remember to be safe when putting up Halloween decorations.
    Check Halloween lights for frayed wires and use plastic hooks and clips instead of metal to reduce the risk of electrical shock. Use heavy-duty extension cords and avoid overloading extension cords for electrical Halloween decorations. And be sure to keep candles away from curtains, paper decorations, or other flammable materials.