The costumes, candy, and spooky decorations make Halloween fun for parents and children alike. However, Halloween also presents several risks for younger participants, so it’s important for parents to use extra precautions on Halloween.
Here are some handy tips your children can use to stay safe.
- Light colors are best because they are easiest to see at night. For dark costumes, affix reflective tape. You can use the tape on trick-or-treat bags as well.
- If possible, choose costumes that are flame resistant. When making your own costumes, choose nylon or polyester fabrics, which are flame-retardant.
- Put a name and phone number on a tag inside your child’s costume for easy identification.
- Ensure that wigs or beards don’t interfere with your child’s breathing.
- Make sure costumes aren’t too long, or a child may trip and fall. Long sleeves can also pose risks, especially near open flames.
- Swords, sticks, staffs, or canes need to be short and pliable.
- Oversized shoes can cause falls. Make sure your child’s shoes fit well.
- Face paint is preferable to masks, because masks can obstruct a child’s view. However, it’s important to test face paint in advance to prevent allergic reactions.
- Kids can carry glow sticks for greater visibility.
- Each child should be equipped with a small flashlight.
- Children under the age of 12 need to be supervised by an adult at all times to prevent injury.
- If your older children are trick-or-treating without you, plan travel routes and discuss a meeting time.
- Use good pedestrian habits, such as crossing at cross walks and obeying traffic signals.
- Walk in well-lit areas to prevent falls.
- Always walk on the side of the road that faces oncoming traffic for maximum visibility.
- Don’t use electronic devices while walking—a distracted pedestrian can easily get hurt.
- Remind your children to only visit homes where a light is on, and to never step inside the home to accept a treat. This is also true for vehicles – children should never enter a vehicle for a treat.
- To prepare a safe entry for trick-or-treaters, remove any items from your porch that may pose a risk of injury, such as wet leaves, tools, hoses, equipment or décor. Make sure your exterior light is working and replace any burnt-out light bulbs.
- Make sure to restrain outdoor pets so they do not attack trick-or-treaters. Even a mild-mannered pet may become agitated by strangers in costumes, so stay on the safe side and find a different place for your furry friend, away from the excitement.
- Keep luminaries and lit pumpkins away from walking paths to prevent fires.
Safety Tips for Drivers
- Expect the unexpected. More children are on the streets on Halloween, and they may not be used to walking near vehicles. They may dart out into the street or cross between parked cars. This is a night to pay close attention and go slowly.
- Proceed with caution. Wait a little longer than usual at crosswalks and stop signs. Exit driveways with care.
- Don’t drive distracted. It’s always important to drive mindfully, but on Halloween it’s crucial since pedestrian accidents are so common on this holiday. Resolve not to eat, apply makeup, fiddle with controls, or text while driving on Halloween or any other day.
- Use your headlights. Turn them on earlier than usual to make your vehicle more visible to pedestrians.
- Only older, more mature children should be trusted to handle carving knives. Leave the carving job to Mom or Dad for the smaller children, or decorate with markers, paint, stickers, or glitter instead of carving.
- Pumpkin innards are slippery and can cause injuries. Cover working surfaces and the floor with newsprint or drop cloths to prevent slips and falls. Don’t wait to clean up any messes.
- LED lights or glow sticks are safe alternatives to candles. If a candle is used to light a pumpkin, a low-sitting votive candle is the safest choice.
- When a pumpkin is lit by a candle, make sure to set it away from any flammable material. Do not leave a lighted candle unattended.
- Give your children a healthy meal before heading out so they won’t be tempted to gorge themselves on candy.
- Examine your children’s candy. Tampering is not common, but it’s wise to discard any unwrapped or suspect items. Remove candy that presents a choking hazard for small children.
- Encourage your children to enjoy their treats one day at a time, rather than in big batches.
With tips like these, you and your family can enjoy a safe, happy Halloween. If, however, you do experience an accident or injury due to negligence, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office.
About the Author:
Lawlor, White & Murphey in 1998. Since 1995, Mr. Lawlor’s trial advocacy and litigation skills, as well as his wide-ranging legal expertise, have provided plaintiffs and their families with a distinct advantage when seeking financial compensation and justice for injuries caused by the negligence of others. Mr. Lawlor is an EAGLE member of the Florida Bar Association and an active member of the American Association for Justice, the Broward County Justice Association, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and several professional associations.