Have Fun, Be Careful
From costumes to candy, keep this holiday safe and fun with our Halloween safety tips.
Choose Safer Materials
Fabric can easily catch fire if it brushes too close to a candle-lit jack-o'-lantern or luminary, so choose flame-resistant costume materials. Add pieces of reflective tape to make a costume more visible at night, especially if it is dark colors.
Wear Clothing That Fits
Make sure that long, flowing costumes--such as robes, capes, or gowns--do not hang below the ankles. You are more likely to trip and have your costume trail in dirt or flames if it is too long.
Wear shoes that fit properly. Uncomfortable shoes could trip you or give you blisters. Never go barefoot; you can easily cut yourself on sharp rocks or broken glass.
Masks & Makeup
If a costume requires a mask or other face covering, you should be able to see clearly and breathe easily at all times. Unless the mask is clipped to your hair or costume, take it off when walking between houses.
For increased visibility and safety, consider using face paint or makeup instead of a mask. Read the packaging before using any makeup, and follow the application instructions carefully. Be especially careful when applying makeup near eyes.
Do not leave any makeup on overnight. Follow the removal instructions carefully and use the recommended products. Again, be careful when cleaning the area around eyes.
Instead of sharp and pointy real accessories, use soft, flexible imitations. Make sure that scarves, sashes, and hats are worn securely and do not block vision.
Be more visible by carrying candy in a white or brightly-colored bag. Alternatively, put reflective tape on the bag.
Instead of candles, use small battery-powered lights inside jack-o'-lanterns and luminaries. This reduces the chances of decorations catching fire.
To create a spooky atmosphere, use colored light bulbs or theatrical gels to change the color of your porch light. Do not use plastic wrap because it could melt or cause a fire. If you use cloth, do not drape it over the bulb, and make sure that it is not touching the bulb at all.
If you do put candles in pumpkins or paper bags, set them back from the walkway so that long costumes will not fall into the flames. Do not light candles in cluttered areas, on unsteady furniture, or near curtains and drapes. Keep them out of reach of children and pets.
Trick-or-treating alone is not safe. Always go with a group of friends or an adult you trust. Plan the route ahead of time so that people know where you are and when you'll be back. Bring a cell phone, a set of walkie-talkies, or change for a payphone in case you get lost or separated from your group.
Never go into a house or apartment unless your parents are with you. Avoid darkened houses; only visit those with a front porch light turned on. Do not walk near luminaries or jack-o'-lanterns. Stay on sidewalks and driveways to avoid damaging plants or tripping over obstacles in the lawn.
Carry a flashlight so you can see where you are walking and so others can see you. Walk on the sidewalk wherever possible. If there is no sidewalk, keep away from the edge of the road and walk facing the traffic. Cross busy streets at the crosswalk.
Running or riding a bicycle while wearing a costume may be hazardous, so walk from house to house to prevent injuries.
Tips for Kids
As tempting as your Halloween loot might be, do not eat any of it until your parents have had a chance to check it for you. Avoid the urge to snack while trick-or-treating by eating dinner before you go.
Do not eat all your candy at once--too many sweets will give you a stomachache. After Halloween, eat a few pieces of candy at a time instead of dessert, or freeze the candy to eat later.
Tips for Parents
Before your children eat any of their candy, check that all packaging is completely sealed. Check wrappers carefully for signs of tampering such as discolorations, pinholes, and small tears. Any opened packages and homemade food or candy should be thrown away.
If you are answering the door and giving out treats, offer non-candy substitutes such as prepackaged fruit snacks, pretzels, or sealed boxes of raisins. Treats do not have to be edible--items such as pencils, stickers, or small toys add variety to a trick-or-treater's haul.
Adapted and excerpted from:
"Halloween Health and Safety Tips," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (rev. 10/2008).