How to Keep Kids Safe on Halloween

For many kids, Halloween is a favorite holiday: they can dress up as anything they can dream up, hang out with their friends, and get free candy from their neighbors – all while enjoying a crisp autumn evening! But for many parents, Halloween strikes fear into their hearts: their children are outside at night, walking in the street, and going up to houses with strangers inside, while everyone is dressed up beyond recognition.

This year, beyond the normal safety concerns of children being kidnapped or hit by cars, parents are also concerned with Coronavirus. The CDC has labeled trick-or-treating as a “high-risk” activity. However, many neighborhoods have committed to safe trick-or-treating by agreeing to sit outside to distribute treats, and in some cases, sit away from their candy by placing it on a table.

Before you send your kids out for some traditional Halloween fun, make sure you go over these safety rules with them.

Walking Safely

  • Only cross the street at corners, using crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. Obey traffic signals if there are any.
  • Don’t be distracted by your cell phone! Keep your head up as you walk – not run – across the street.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them to be sure they see you.
  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths – stay out of the street as much as possible.
  • If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible in a single file line.
  • Walk a direct route with the fewest street crossings.
  • Watch out for cars that are turning or backing up. Don’t dart into the street.
  • Kids under age 12 must be accompanied by an adult for trick-or-treating. If kids are over 12 and going alone, they should stick to well-known areas that are well-lit, and stay in groups.

Costume Safety

  • Choose light colors when possible, and add reflective tape to shoes and trick-or-treat bags.
  • Stay away from oversized masks that can make it hard for children to see.
  • Kids should carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen.
  • Make sure costumes fit correctly to avoid trips and falls.

Driver Safety

If you’re out on Halloween evening, you should also follow some rules to prevent accidents – especially if you’re in a residential area.

  • Slow down and be on the lookout for trick-or-treaters.
  • Enter and exit driveways and streets slowly and carefully.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. Put down your phone!
  • Most trick-or-treaters are out 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. Be extra cautious during these hours.

Basic Halloween Safety

  • Walk all the way to the door with young children in case there are scary decorations or costumes on those who answer the door.
  • Avoid unlit front porches; don’t even ring the doorbell.
  • Check that candy is sealed and not tampered with or old. Make sure candy is age-appropriate (check for choking hazards) and doesn’t contain any known allergens.
  • If you’re the one handing out candy, make sure that your dog is secured so they don’t scare or knock over children.
  • Vandalism is common on Halloween; if possible, don’t leave anything outside that could be damaged or broken.

There’s no reason that Halloween can’t be a safe and enjoyable night for everyone! Just make sure to set your ground rules for your children, and stay alert when supervising young ones.