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Halloween Safety Tips Parents Should Know

Keep the kids happy, healthy, and howling with fun with these Halloween safety tips.

Although most parents are all over this issue thanks to the abundance of scary stories on the news about unpleasant items in apples, it never hurts to review safe practices for Halloween pumpkin carving, costumes, candy, trick or treating, and keeping your own home secure.


Safety Tips For Decorating Pumpkins

After the kids decide on their Halloween costumes, carving and decorating pumpkins are usually next on the holiday checklist.

Parents should always cut the top off the pumpkin and carve it. Let the kids do the gooey work of scooping out the pumpkin seeds and pulp. Have the kids draw a design on the pumpkin for a parent to carve out.

Make kids aware of any fire issues should you have a lit candle in the pumpkin. For example, don't pick up a pumpkin with an illuminated candle inside, and don't stick your little fingers in the face holes or top of a Jack-O-Lantern.

Be sure to place a pumpkin with a lit candle in a safe place on a sturdy surface. Set it up high if you have pets or young children and always place it away from curtains or flammable items.

Consider a battery-operated votive light that looks like a candle. For real candles, choose a small votive candle in a holder as opposed to a taper candle that could tip over inside the pumpkin.

If your young child wants to create his or her Halloween pumpkin without any help, suggest techniques that do not involve knives, such as drawing on the pumpkin with markers or gluing jewels, feathers, and similar adornments to the pumpkin's surface.


Safety Tips for Costumes

Kids love going wild with their costumes, but all those fun accessories and embellishments can sometimes be dangerous.

Light up the night and your kids with wearable glow and LED items so they are seen from a mile away on Halloween night.

Give the kids a "glow" with reflective tape on their shoes and costumes or glow-stick necklaces around their necks.

Look for light-up wearable items, such as necklaces, pins, even rings to help the kids be seen.

Make sure that costumes fit properly, from the length of a garment to shoes, to avoid the kids tripping in poorly lit areas.

Consider saving Halloween masks for the party and not wearing them while trick or treating. Try make-up instead of a mask to keep in theme and be safe.

Check costume labels to make sure that they are flame resistant.

If your kids' costumes include props, like a sword or light saber, make sure that it is not sharp in any way and talk to them about the fact that it is only a prop and not a weapon - even if they are playing!


Safety Tips for Candies and Treats

Let your kids know about these Halloween candy safety tips before they come home with a bag of candy half of which has been opened and munched.

Always inspect candy carefully before eating it and never eat candy that has been opened...even if you think you opened it.

Although fruit is a healthy snack, don't bite into an apple or any other fruit or veggies, like carrot sticks, unless you know the people that gave them to you.

Only consume baked goods or similar treats from people or homes that you know.

Try and eat a healthy meal before going out trick or treating.

Consider giving your kids a daily candy limit, starting with Halloween night, so they're not completely sugared up and moody throughout the week.


Safety Tips for Trick or Treating

Little goblins and witches are sure to be excited for trick-or-treating fun. Ensure everyone enjoys the Halloween festivities while staying safe using these Halloween safety tips for successful trick-or-treating.

Younger Children

A parent should always accompany younger kids while trick or treating. Plan on 1 adult per 3 children - otherwise it might get to be too much for one parent to handle. Plus, going out in groups is always your best bet!

It's a great idea for parents to carry flashlights in case the trick-or-treating trail leads to unlit areas. Try and stay on streets that are well lit.

Cell phones are ideal on Halloween night especially if you are trick or treating with a group. Make sure cell phone numbers are exchanged prior to setting out.

Decide on a meeting place or plan if someone loses his or her way. Make sure the kids are all aware of this location and how to get there.

Trick-or-treat at homes that have their lights on by the front door. A dark threshold usually means that the home is not participating in Halloween.

Older Children

If your older kids are trick or treating on their own, go over these tips and consider setting a curfew. Give them a cell phone and ask them to check in with you throughout the night.

Carry a flashlight and stick to neighborhood streets they're familiar with.

Stick with a group of friends.

Never approach a car with a person inside offering Halloween candy.

*This last tip is based on something that actually happened to me as a parent trick-or-treating with my kids: if there's a person hanging out on the street, basically not in a home, giving out candy avoid them, or if that's not possible, the parent could simply take the treat to avoid conflict and throw it out later.


Safety Tips For Your Home

Go with the "it takes a village" mentality on Halloween night and consider the safety of other kids visiting your house.

Know that if you leave candy and a sign that says "Take One" that most people will ignore it and a free-for-all will ensue.

If you will not be at your home on Halloween, think about a "lights out" policy so no one will visit or vandalize your home.

Just in case visitors venture up to your door, make sure that their path is free from electrical cords or decor that they could trip on, especially if you plan on leaving the lights off.

Never leave a lit candle in a Jack-O-Lantern on the porch or outside if no one if home.

Consider taking pumpkins or Jack-O-Lanterns inside if you will not be at home at night or there is a chance that they will wind up smashed on your sidewalk for all to slip on.

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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