Follow these tips to make sure your holiday is safe as well as fun
Halloween is just around the corner! The leaves are changing and the temperatures are falling. Pumpkins, cobwebs, and ghostly goblins are appearing on porches and in front yards. Stores are filled with candy displays, orange and black decorations, and costume ideas. Are you ready to dress up, stock up on candy, and have some fun?
Whether you’re leading the trick-or-treating pack, answering the door to give out candy, or heading out for an adult costume party, here are some tips for having a ghoulishly great time while also staying safe.
Be smart about trick-or-treating
Whether you’re a parent, sibling, family member, or friend who’s volunteered to take a child out to trick-or-treat, follow these helpful suggestions to keep the fun going. Nothing ruins Halloween like encountering a serious scary incident—especially one that could have been avoided.
- Stick to sidewalks and paths. If possible, stay out of the road (or stick as close to the side as possible). Avoid letting kids run through yards where there may be unseen obstacles they could trip over. Stay away from alleys.
- Use a flashlight (or the flashlight app on your phone) to help light the path.
- If a porch light is on, that generally means the house is ready for trick-or-treaters. Skip the ones that are dark.
- Don't allow kids to go inside a house for treats.
- Carry with you a fully-charged cell phone.
- When crossing a street, gather the group and go together, in a crosswalk if possible. No darting between parked cars!
- Place reflective tape on trick-or-treat bags or directly on costumes or the back of shoes.
- Make sure costumes allow easy movement: have everyone wear safe, slip resistant shoes (you might want to leave the Cinderella slippers at home and opt for sneakers), and no capes or dresses that drag on the ground. These can be a tripping hazard.
- If a costume includes a mask, make sure the child can see properly, or have him or her carry it and put it on at the door of each house.
- Instruct the children in your group to wait until you return home to open and eat any of the candy they collect. This gives an adult time to inspect it and toss anything that looks suspicious.
Handing out candy
If you opt to hang out at home to welcome trick-or-treaters, here are some ideas to help your planning:
- Make sure the path leading to the area around your front door is clear of any tripping or slipping hazards, such as garden hoses, yard decorations, planters, porch furniture, or wet leaves (or even snow).
- Keep pets in crates, a garage, or a room where they can't reach the front door. Even the friendliest of pets can accidentally nip or scratch, especially with all the excitement and loud atmosphere.
- Put your porch light on to let trick-or-treaters know you’re open for business. When you run out of candy, simply switch it off.
Other smart safety tips
- If you have a tradition of carving pumpkins, make sure the adults handle the knives. Small children can color or paint their pumpkins—markers also work great.
- Consider using an artificial (battery-operated) light source rather than a real candle inside the pumpkin.
- Make sure any costumes you buy are labeled fire-resistant, and that any make-up you use is labeled non-toxic.
- If a costume calls for accessories such as swords or sticks, don't use real ones, and make sure the fake ones don't have sharp points or edges.
- If you have older children who are trick-or-treating without you, ask about their planned route ahead of time and have them carry fully charged cell phones. Remind them not to go into a house or get into a car.
Smart tips even for adults
If you plan to attend a Halloween party where alcohol is being served, drink responsibly, and never drink and drive. Even better—designate a driver who’s okay skipping the drinks altogether. Also, don't drive in a costume that obstructs your movement or sight. Bring it along and put it on once you’ve arrived at your destination.
With a little planning and some common sense, Halloween can be fun and safe for everyone. We want all your holiday stories to be happy ones!
This post is part of the weekly blog of the Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health, located in Manchester, NH. We’re dedicated the health and wellness of all our students. Visit us online to learn more, or reach out to schedule a campus tour!