PA Requirements - Blog

Trick or Treat: Halloween Safety Edition
Posted by Emily Pazel

It’s time to dust off those Halloween decorations and put them on display because the annual spooky holiday is right around the corner. Dressing up as your favorite character or costume is always a must, and something people plan out months ahead of time. And for some, trick-or-treating might not even be a part of the tradition any more. Maybe it’s just watching scary movies with a big bowl of candy corn in front of you. But for the hundreds of thousands of trick-or-treaters that still make their rounds in the neighborhood for candy, what could go wrong?

Well, to start, trick-or-treating during a pandemic has not been as easy as it seems. For many, trick-or-treating was canceled last year and – depending on where you live – could see restrictions again this year. However, if trick-or-treating is allowed in your area, you should always try to follow the CDC’s guidelines to ensure your holiday traditions are safe. So once you have read the guidelines and are ready to put your Halloween plans in action, we have a couple of safety guidelines for that as well.

From costume safety to stranger-danger safety, you may want to do your homework and make sure you and your family are taking all the safety precautions available. After all, it is the spookiest night of the year.

Costume/Attire Safety

On Halloween, whether you are attending a party or trick-or-treating until your shoes give you blisters, dressing up in your favorite costume is half the fun. And creating your Halloween outfit/look can be extremely elaborate or something very simple, such as just slapping a nap tag on your shirt and calling yourself by a different name. Whatever the case may be, it’s also good to make sure you are taking safety precautions towards your costume.

When dressing up for Halloween, we don’t always think of taking safety precautions as a big deal because it’s hard to imagine there’s any issues to begin with. However, just like everything we purchase at the store and then use later on, it’s good to research and know beforehand the best safety precautions to keep you and your family safe. The National Safety Council (NSC) released a few tips and tricks to make sure that your Halloween attire and products are safe to use:

  • In case of a fire emergency, make sure that all costumes, wigs and accessories are fire-resistant
  • If children are allowed out after dark, fasten reflective tape to their costumes and bags, or give them glow sticks
  • When buying Halloween makeup, make sure it is nontoxic and always test it in a small area first
  • Remove all makeup before children go to bed to prevent skin and eye irritation

While safety isn’t always a top priority when picking out the coolest, most hip outfit for your Halloween costume, it should be taken seriously – especially when young children are involved and trick-or-treating into the late evening is on the agenda. And speaking of trick-or-treating, there are several safety precautions you can take while roaming the neighborhood searching for delicious candy treats.

Safety While Trick-or-Treating

Trick-or-treating in a safe, well-lit area should be a Halloween tradition that’s safe for the entire family. However, that isn’t always the case and it should be treated with the mindset that anything could happen. In fact, according to the NSC, children are more than twice as likely to be struck by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year.

Typically, trick-or-treating begins near the end of the day for most families and the lack of lighting during the event can bring on accidents. And unfortunately, looking out for moving cars isn’t the only danger children can face on the night of Halloween, as many things could potentially happen. The NSC has compiled a good list of guidelines to follow and keep in mind while trick-or-treating with children:

  • A responsible adult should accompany young children on the neighborhood rounds
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review a route acceptable to you
  • Agree on a specific time children should return home
  • Teach your children never to enter a stranger’s home or car
  • Instruct children to travel only in familiar, well-lit areas and stick with their friends
  • Tell your children not to eat any treats until they return home
  • Children and adults are reminded to put electronic devices down, keep heads up and walk, don’t run across the street

So, while it’s easy to get wrapped up in the spirit of Halloween and run around the neighborhood, it’s good to keep these guidelines in mind in order to have a safe, fun-filled holiday. And, on your way to trick-or-treating or if you happened to be on the road the night of Halloween, you should be extra careful while driving, as children might be on the prowl, hunting for delicious sweets.

Safety Tips for Motorists

If you are on the road the night of Halloween, chances are that you had to work late or maybe you are on your way home after a long, successful night of trick-or-treating. Whatever the case may be, staying extra alert on this special night is very important as children are typically out for awhile and depending on how popular your neighborhood is on trick-or-treating, you may have a lot of extra visitors this night.

As a quick and useful tip, if you decide to drive to your trick-or-treating destination in a busy neighborhood, it could be useful to park near a neighboring road or business and walk to the neighborhood so that you are keeping your car clear of the busy walking areas. But whatever the case may be and you find yourself driving on this Halloween night, here are a few tips from SafeKids.org:

  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods; children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways
  • Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully
  • Get rid of any distractions – like your phone – in your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings
  • Turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances
  • Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 – 9:30 pm; be especially alert for kids during those hours

As previously mentioned, Halloween can be a dangerous holiday for children and pedestrians and should be treated with extra precautions while driving on this day. Or, just try to stay home and walk to trick-or-treating destinations. And if trick-or-treating has outgrown your family, try cozying up with some popcorn, candy corn and a scary film to celebrate the night.

So, however you decide to celebrate Halloween is ultimately up to you, but taking extra safety precautions can never hurt and will ultimately provide a better, safer holiday for everyone involved. Whether you are trick-or-treating with a young child or passing out candy, it’s never too late to be extra careful and follow some easy guidelines to ensure a safe Halloween this year. And by knowing these safety guidelines, you can help others make safe decisions and help your loved ones, neighbors and friends have a spooky, fun-filled evening.