October 26, 1998
Safety tips for trick-or-treaters
Before your little ghouls and goblins take off for trick-or-treating, be sure to safeguard them against some Halloween hazards.
The safest way to enjoy Halloween is to consider trick or treating at a shopping mall or attending a school, church, or community party or other organized event, but if your children are going house to house collecting candy, the American College of Emergency Physicians has some important tips to help keep them safe.
- Trick or treat in your neighborhood, where you know the neighbors. Don't go to unfamiliar places and consider going during daylight hours.
- Only visit homes with decorations and porch lights on.
- Insist that children show you all their goodies before they sample them. Inspect candy for tampering, and never eat fruit, unwrappped items, or candy not in its original wrapper.
- Have children wear costumes with light, bright colors that will be clearly visible to motorists; attach reflective tape to increase visibility at night.
- Make sure that costumes-including wigs, masks, and beards-are flame-resistant, and remind children to stay away from open flames from candles and Jack O'Lanterns.
- Make sure that masks do not impair vision.
- Avoid costumes with big, baggy sleeves, billowing skirts or long and dragging hems that could cause someone to trip.
- Make sure that swords, knives, and other costume accessories are made out of flexible material.
- Make sure trick-or-treaters wear sturdy, well-fitting shoes. High heels can cause accidents for those not used to wearing them.
- Remind children to walk on the sidewalks, not the streets, and to be careful crossing the streets.
- Remind children never to accept rides from strangers.
- Remind children to always be polite; to say "thank you" when they get candy, even if it's not the kind they like; and to let little kids go first.