“Halloween activities can be fun, and some even a little scary, but they shouldn’t be dangerous,” says IDHS Emergency Medical and Fire Certification Chief Rick Archer. “Make sure you take appropriate precautions with your Halloween festivity preparations, and take time to talk with your children about trick-or-treating safety.”
See and Be Seen
- For greater visibility during dusk and darkness, decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car’s headlights. Bags or sacks should also be light colored or decorated with reflective tape. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware, bicycle, and sporting goods stores.
- To easily see and be seen, children should also carry flashlights.
- Teach children to never assume they are seen by a vehicle. Small children may be especially difficult to spot in the dark.
- Remind children to look both ways before crossing the street.
Trick or Treating
- Due to the number of children out on the street on Halloween evening, motorists should be especially careful driving along city streets, especially in neighborhoods, during designated trick-or-treat hours.
- Trick-or-treaters should use sidewalks instead of the street whenever possible and always cross at crosswalks.
- Young children should always be accompanied by an adult or an older, responsible child.
- Make sure older children trick-or-treat with friends and carry a cell phone for quick communication.
- Children and their parents should be cautioned about accepting unwrapped treats.
- When purchasing costumes, masks, beards and wigs, make sure the label says “flame resistant.” While this doesn’t ensure these items won’t catch fire, it does indicate the items will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
- To minimize the risk of contact with candles or other sources of ignition, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts.
- Apply a natural mask of cosmetics rather than have a child wear a loose-fitting mask that might restrict breathing or obscure vision. If a mask is used, make sure it fits securely and has eyeholes large enough to allow full vision.
- Swords, knives and similar costume accessories should be of soft and flexible material.
- Small children should never carve pumpkins.
- Children can draw a face with markers. Then an adult can do the cutting.
- Older children should be allowed to use knives only with adult supervision.
- People expecting trick-or-treaters should remove anything that could be an obstacle from lawns, steps and porches.
- Check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
- Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps to avoid slips.
Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.