EDITORS NOTE: This article was originally published by Nationwide on blog.nationwide.com
Halloween is a night of fun and fright, but it does require extra caution when it comes to keeping your little monsters safe. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, “on average, twice as many child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween compared to any other day of the year, and more than 70 percent of accidents occur away from an intersection or crosswalk.” Follow these Halloween safety tips to help avoid common accidents and dangers.
Trick-or-treating safety tips
1. Provide adult supervision
Trick or treat is safer – not to mention more fun – in groups, and adult supervision is essential. So get together with other adults and make an evening of it. Bring cellphones for quick pictures and emergencies, but leave them in your pockets to avoid getting distracted.
2. Stay on the sidewalks
The thrill of the holiday often factors into accidents as excited kids rush from door to door. Keep children on the sidewalks, and shepherd them carefully when they need to cross the road. In areas without sidewalks, walk on the far edge of the road, facing traffic.
3. Carefully check candy
Check candy for choking hazards like gum and hard candies. Throw away any candy that is not sealed with a wrapper and avoid homemade treats received from strangers.
Costume safety tips
4. Choose bright, visible costumes
When selecting a costume, opt for the bright-colored outfits and add a touch of reflective tape to the material. Stick some reflective tape on their trick-or-treat bags as well so they can be easily spotted by motorists. Lastly, don’t forget to make sure they’re equipped with a flashlight or glow stick – must-have accessories for any costume.
5. Make sure costumes are well-fitted and safe
Being visible isn’t the only safety consideration for a costume. The right fit is just as important. Here’s some advice on keeping your child’s ensemble safe and secure:
- Prevent accidental tripping or entanglement by making sure costumes aren’t too big or long
- Avoid masks that block vision, but if your child wears one – it should have large eye, nose and mouth openings. You can also op for makeup or face paint as an alternative
- Costumes, wigs and accessories should contain a label indicating they are flame resistant
- Make sure accessories such as swords, canes, or sticks are not sharp or too long
6. Makeup safety
If makeup is a part of your child’s Halloween costume plans, make sure it is non-toxic and test it on a small area first. Before your child goes to bed, make sure to remove all makeup.
Home Safety Tips
7. Jack-o-lantern safety
Young children can paint or color their pumpkins instead of carving. Or have them draw a face with markers and an adult can do the carving. Use colorful glow sticks inside your Jack-o-lanterns instead of candles to prevent burns.
8. Home decoration safety
If you’re turning your home into a haunted house, keep safety in mind: make sure steps, sidewalks, porches and paths are well-lit and free of decorations and holiday props. Keep decorations away from fireplaces and candles.
9. Take precaution against pranks and vandalism
Unfortunately, vandalism often increases during Halloween. That’s why taking these precautions is a good idea:
- If you’re going away during Halloween, make it seem like you’re still home by turning down the volume of your answering machine and phone, covering your garage windows, and leaving your curtains in normal positions with valuables out of sight.
- Install outdoor lighting (activated by a photocell or movement) to illuminate the area around your home during Halloween.
- Consider purchasing a security system that directly alerts police to intruders.
- Trim shrubs and large trees before Halloween so trespassers have fewer hiding spots.
- Make sure your homeowners insurance policy is up-to-date.
Car and driving safety tips
10. Use extra caution while driving
Drivers need to take particular care on this chaotic night. Keep your car parked if you can, but if you have to drive through a neighborhood, take it much slower than normal. Watch for kids who may dart between cars and into the road without looking. Read our Halloween Driving Safety Guide for more useful tips.
11. Protect your car
Cars are another common target of vandalism on Halloween. Here are some ways you can help secure your car:
- Park inside if you can on Halloween. Your garage is your best bet. If you do not have a garage you may want to consider investing in some outdoor lighting for your driveway and yard.
- Make sure your car is locked on Halloween. Oftentimes, vandals complete their missions with ease when doors are unlocked and windows are down/cracked.
- Consider a car alarm.
- Hide your valuables on Halloween. Don’t give thieves any extra incentive to break into your car.