Trick-or-Treating Safety

Written by
October 29th, 2010

Trick-or-Treaters:

  • Never trick-or-treat alone. Have at least two friends go with you.
  • Plan your entire route and make sure your family knows what it is.
  • Carry a bright flashlight to illuminate sidewalks, steps and paths. Use new flashlight batteries and check it before you leave the house.  Chemical glow light sticks can be used along with flashlights.
  • Always WALK, do not run.
  • Stay on sidewalks. If there is not a sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic. Walk single file, facing the traffic.
  • Obey traffic signals and only cross at corners.
  • Don’t assume you have the right of way.
  • Because one car stops, it doesn’t mean others will!
  • Stay in familiar neighborhoods.
  • Don’t cut across yards or driveways.
  • Wear a watch you can read in the dark. Set the watch alarm if you have time limit for trick-or-treating.
  • Avoid wearing masks while walking from house to house.
  • Carry only flexible knives, swords or other props. Avoid pointed props such as spears, or wands that endanger other children’s eyes.
  • Wear clothing with reflective markings or tape.
  • Make sure your costume doesn’t drag on the ground or you might trip on it.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes, and make sure they should fit properly.
  • Visit houses that have lights on, especially houses with Halloween decorations.
  • Stay away from animals you don’t know.
  • Do not enter homes or apartments without adult supervision.
  • Accept treats only in the doorway. Never go inside a house.
  • Always carry a spare Halloween bag just in case yours breaks.
  • Take a cell phone with you if possible.
  • Always be polite and don’t forget to say “Trick-or-Treat” and “Thank You”!

Parents:
SAFETY

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • In order to discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats, make sure they eat dinner before going out.
  • Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire or on a bracelet.
  • Older children should carry a cell phone with home number ready.
  • Be sure to watch young children carefully near the street.
  • If your children go on their own, be sure they wear a watch and set their alarm to a time when they should return home.
  • Older children should know where to reach you and when to be home.
  • Older children should trick-or-treat in groups. You should know where they’re going and with who they are going with.
  • Although tampering is rare, tell children to bring ALL the candy home to be inspected before consuming anything.
  • Review with your children the principle of “Stop-Drop-Roll”, should their clothes catch on fire.
  • Teach children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.

TREATS

  • Give children an early meal before going out.
  • Insist that treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten.
  • Report to the police anything that appears suspicious about treats.
  • When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Although sharing is encouraged, make sure items that can cause choking (such as hard candies), are given only to those of an appropriate age.
  • If you child has an allergy, look at the ingredients of the treats they bring home.
  • Limit the amount of treats they consume to avoid sickness.
  • If your child is diabetic, read this article for helpful information Halloween and Diabetes.

COSTUMES

  • Costumes should be loose enough so that warm clothes can be worn underneath.
  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective.
  • Only purchase costumes, wigs and accessories if they clearly indicate they are flame resistant.
  • Make sure that shoes fit well (even if they don’t go with your costume).
  • Make sure that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape (usually available in hardware, bicycle and sporting goods stores), striping or glow sticks 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 in case the youngster gets separated from the group.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.
  • When buying special Halloween makeup, check for packages containing ingredients that are labeled “Made with U.S. 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. 

HOMEOWNERS

  • 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.
  • Pets get frightened on Halloween. Put them up to protect them from cars or inadvertently biting a trick-or-treater.
  • Glow sticks, light sticks or battery powered jack-o-lantern lights and candles are preferable to real flame candles.
  • If you do use candles, place the jack-o-lantern well away from where trick-or-treaters will be walking or standing.
  • NEVER leave any flaming candle unattended.
  • Be prepared. Have a fire extinguisher handy.
  • Be sure the path and stairs to your front door are well illuminated and clear of obstacles.
  • Make sure paper or cloth yard decorations won’t be blown into a flaming candle.
  • Consider purchasing individually packaged healthy food alternatives (or safe non-food treats) for those who visit your home.
  • Include packages of low-fat crackers with cheese or peanut butter filling, single-serve boxes of cereal, packaged fruit rolls, mini boxes of raisins and single-serve packets of low-fat popcorn that can be microwaved later.
  • Non-food treats (great for those with diabetes or food allergies): plastic rings, pencils, stickers, erasers, coins. 

PET AND ANIMAL OWNERS

  • Halloween can be a very traumatic and even dangerous time for your pet.
  • Don’t leave your pet out in the yard on Halloween.
  • Strangers visiting in costumes can be scary for dogs.
  • Put your pet in a cage or separate room to keep them from darting out the door.
  • Trick-or-treat candies are not for pets.
  • Chocolate is poisonous to a lot of animals. 

DRIVERS

The National Safety Council urges motorists to be especially alert on Halloween and offers the following driving tips:

  • Drive SLOW, SLOW, SLOW!
  • Be aware that in Wisconsin, not all communities hold trick-or-treat on Halloween.
  • Kids may be out trick-or-treating the weekend prior to Halloween up through Halloween night!
  • Watch for children darting out from between parked cars and walking on roadways, medians and curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
  • If you are driving children, be sure they exit on the curb side, away from traffic.
  • Do not wear your mask while driving.
  • At twilight or later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.
  • Adult Halloween parties should have a designated driver.
  • Turn your lights on even in daylight – lights make you more visible.
  • Drive cautiously to give yourself extra time to react to children crossing the street.

Have Fun!  Happy Halloween!

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