Halloween Safety Tips 2022: Stay Safe While Trick-or-Treating
Have you ever wondered why we dress our kids up every Halloween and send them to the streets in search of free candy? The answer is a strange mix of practices started by ancient Celts, early Roman Catholics, and 17th-century British politics.1
Despite its unique origins, Halloween is now a night that kids and parents look forward to every year. But if Halloween night also brings you a little anxiety, know you’re not alone.
It’s a unique holiday that can create some special risks so below we’ve gathered a handful of quick safety tips so your kids can stay safe and enjoy a Happy Halloween.
How to Help Kids Travel Safely on Halloween Night
Halloween is the spookiest day of the year but it is also one of the most dangerous for child pedestrians.
While still statistically very unlikely, “children are three times more likely to be struck and killed by a car on the holiday than any other day of the year.”2 This might not be surprising given the millions of trick-or-treaters hurriedly trying to cross the street to get all that free candy.
In order to keep Halloween the safest and most fun time for your kids, it’s important to talk with them about staying safe before they head out the door. Here are a few points to keep in mind so they make it through the evening safe and happy:
- For young children, consider accompanying them or ensuring another responsible adult is going along. If you won’t be joining the group, make sure the adult chaperoning them has your phone number for easy communication.
- For older children, make a plan for their trick-or-treating route so they stick to safe areas you’re familiar with. This is one night in particular when parents really love their Gabb devices because they come with reliable GPS tracking and customizable safe zones.
Being able to keep tabs on their location brings peace of mind and the safe zones can easily be configured to automatically notify you if your child has veered outside your pre-approved route.
- Whether your child has a safe phone for kids or other cell phone, consider setting a rule to only use the device while standing (and at a safe distance away from the street). According to a research review by Reuters, “Smartphone users who text while they walk are more prone to accidents.”3
Of course, texting isn’t the only distraction smartphones can offer that could make walking around at night dangerous. This is another reason parents love Gabb devices—with no addictive games or social media, kids are much less likely to be distracted by their phone or watch.
Halloween Costumes That Look Great and Keep Them Safe
The top costume priority for kids is always going to be how they look so, as a parent, you’ll be the one to make sure what they’re wearing doesn’t pose any safety risks. Here are a few things to think about:
- Be sure any store-bought costumes, wigs, or accessories are fire-resistant.
- Few things motivate kids to move quickly like free candy so you’ll want to consider whether a costume is likely to cause them to trip or fall. Masks, in particular, can make it hard to see so consider face paint instead.
- We also suggest leaving accessories at home. A wand or toy sword might be a fun addition to costumes for photos but it’s likely to just get in the way while trick-or-treating.
- Speaking of face paint, always opt for nontoxic makeup and consider testing a small amount on their arm to see if it causes any irritation. Oh, and don’t forget to remove it all before they go to bed for the night so they don’t wake up November 1st with a rash.
- Decorative contact lenses can look pretty spooky so they are tempting, but not recommended. Contact lenses are considered medical devices so they’re regulated by the FDA. Most decorative lenses are not FDA-approved and could potentially cause “eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.”4
- For any child who will be going out at night, consider adding small strips of reflective tape to costumes or bags. Glow sticks are another good option. Whatever your method, the idea is to make your child easily visible to drivers at night.
Myths and Must-haves for Halloween Food Safety
Many of us have heard horror stories about “Halloween Sadists” dropping razor blades or drug-laced candy into innocent children’s treat bags.5 The good news: it’s all a myth. You may have assumed this (why would someone hand out something very expensive and difficult-to-acquire with no real hope of knowing if it were ever consumed?) but there’s actual research to disprove it too.
Joel Best, a professor at the University of Delaware, has taken on the decades-long project of investigating these accounts as they pop up in news stories and, so far, every single one has proven false.6 That means any food-related safety concerns are relatively run-of-the mill.
It’s still a good idea to tell your kids to wait until they get back home to start eating any of their candy. We suggest asking them to empty their treat bags on the kitchen table so you can do a quick scan. Here are a few tips:
- Be on the lookout for treats that might trigger any food allergies.
- Be careful to weed out items that might present a choking hazard, particularly for younger children.
- While you’re doing your inspection, have your kids wash their hands. They likely touched dozens of doorbells that were recently pressed by hundreds of other little fingers. If you’re especially concerned about germs, you may even consider sending your child out with a mask, gloves, or hand sanitizer in the first place.
Halloween nights can be such a fun part of parenting. While the above cautions are worth taking seriously, there’s no reason for extra stress about sending your child out trick-or-treating this year. Just take a few extra minutes to follow these safety tips and enjoy a safe, spooky, Halloween.