Halloween is all about candy, but we’re not going to sugar-coat it for you. October 31st is the deadliest day of the year for children walking the streets. Children are three times more likely to be struck by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year.
And that’s not the only danger facing children on Halloween. From being injured by a costume to getting lost because they’re trick or treating alone, October 31st can be downright scary for kids and their families.
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Too Many Parents Don’t Take Halloween Safety Seriously
Unfortunately, parents aren’t doing a great job of helping. Just take a look at these alarming Halloween safety stats:
- 70 percent of parents let their children trick-or-treat alone
- 82 percent of parents don’t bother including any visibility markings on their kids’ costumes
- 65 percent of parents fail to go over Halloween safety tips for parents and kids before they head out
- 63 percent of kids don’t carry a flashlight for safe trick or treating at night
The Most Common Halloween Injuries to Watch Out For
“The most common Halloween injuries we see are severe hand injuries from pumpkin carving and leg and extremity injuries due to falls from long costumes and/or costumes that impair vision,”
noted the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons spokesperson Kevin G. Shea, MD.
But those aren’t the only injuries you and your kids could face if you don’t follow basic trick or treat rules. Others include:
- Burns due to costumes that aren’t flame retardant
- Dehydration from being out too long and not drinking enough water
- Eye injuries related to bad makeup or faulty contacts
- Trips and falls from long costumes
- Car accidents
So what can you do to avoid becoming another Halloween statistic? Turns out, quite a lot.
How to Trick or Treat Safely
Choose a costume that gets noticed
No, we don’t mean one that’ll have people talking. Yes, that’s always the goal. You want Halloween to be memorable for them. But by “get noticed” we mean be visible to drivers. One of the most important trick or treating safety tips to instill in your kids is that they’re sharing the road with cars. A brightly colored costume will help drivers see them. And if your kids are into dark costumes, consider attaching a few pieces of reflective tape to their shoes and clothes so they’re a little more visible.
Choose the right face mask
If your child wants to wear a costume with a mask, make sure it’s one that doesn’t restrict their peripheral vision. Some masks make it really hard for kids to see. And when you combine that restricted visibility with the darkness of evening, it’s a recipe for disaster and a Halloween safety rules nightmare — especially when crossing the street.
Using face paint? Make sure it’s safe
Not all face paint is created equal. In fact, some can cause skin irritation, rashes, or worse. Always buy face paint from a reputable source. While we aren’t suggesting dollar store safe paint is completely off the table, we recommend doing some research on its source if you plan to buy some. Usually, when it comes to cosmetics, perfumes, makeup, and similar products, if it’s cheap, it’s not going to be incredible.
Shilpa Register, O.D., Ph.D., of UAB Callahan Eye Hospital, agrees and offers these Halloween tips for parents:
“Costume makeup has become trendy in recent years, but remember to test it on a small spot first to confirm there are no allergic reactions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends makeup rather than masks, which can block the child’s vision. Also, all too often we see patients who purchase decorative contact lenses at beauty shops or gas stations, which can result in eye injuries or even blindness.”
Don’t let them trick or treat too late
The later it gets on Halloween, the fewer young kids there are on the street. If your child is young, consider starting their trick or treat adventure a little earlier. They’ll have ample time to collect candy, and they won’t be out too late after dark.
Don’t let them eat candy until they arrive home
It’s always a good idea to inspect their candy before they eat it. So if they’re out there and tempted to dip into their bag for a little energy boost, make sure they know the dangers. Candy that appears to be tampered with can be deadly. And in the dark, especially if you’re wearing a mask, it’s hard to catch the hidden dangers.
Use a GPS tracker
If your kids are at the age where they don’t want you trick or treating with them, it’s OK to give them a little freedom. It’s also OK to feel a little bit scared. If you’re a worrier, consider following your child as they roam the neighborhood in search of candy — with a little help. mSpy, one of the most popular parental control apps on the market that’s built around Halloween safety for kids, includes GPS tracking, so you can find out where your kids are just by looking at a map.
It also lets you create restricted zones, and alerts you if your child enters that zone. So if your child ends up on a street that they shouldn’t be on (or if they leave the neighborhood completely to go to a party) you’ll know about it.
You Can Never Be Too Safe, Especially on Halloween
Halloween this year might feel a little different, but by following our trick or treat safety guidelines, you can make it memorable and safe. And remember, it’s not about picking or choosing one safe trick or treating tip over another. Layering these tips will go a long way to help you keep them safe.