Trick or Treat: Keeping Halloween Costumes Safe
Halloween costumes can be delightfully fun or fantastically frightening, but don’t forget to keep safety in mind. From masks obscuring your vision to capes that are too long, there are some common Halloween costumes hazards to avoid.
Whether you’re buying your getup at the store or putting it together at home, consider these six Halloween costume safety tips:
1. Size Costumes Correctly
Make sure costumes are the right size to help avoid tripping or falling, says Safe Kids Worldwide. It can be easy to trip on a costume, especially during the excitement of trick-or-treating and going up front steps. Be sure that the bottom of costumes (pants, skirts, etc.) and capes stop several inches from the ground when your child is standing. When in doubt, hem up costumes by an extra inch or two.
It’s also a good idea to wear sturdy shoes that fit well, says the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Avoid oversize shoes to help prevent a fall.
2. Be Visible
Whenever possible, choose costumes in bright or light colors, says Safe Kids Worldwide. For extra visibility, the CPSC suggests adding reflective tape to your children’s trick-or-treat bags and costumes. Kids should also carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see where they’re going and so that it is easier for drivers to see them, says Safe Kids Worldwide.
3. Choose Fire-Resistant Costumes
Halloween decor often features jack-o’-lanterns and luminaries, which can be dangerous if a costume gets too close to an open flame. When buying your costume and accessories, including capes, wigs and beards, check the label to make sure they are fire-resistant and made with flame-retardant materials, says the CPSC. To help minimize the risk of contact with an open flame, such as candles, the stove or a fire pit, avoid outfits with baggy sleeves or billowing skirts. Also, consider using glow sticks or battery-operated candles in your decorations, says the National Fire Protection Association.
4. Use Makeup Instead of a Mask
Masks can limit how well you can see, says the National Safety Council. Instead, consider using nontoxic face paint to complete your or your child’s costume. Test any makeup on a small area before applying fully. To prevent potential skin or eye irritation, the NSC recommends removing all face paint before going to sleep.
5. Stick with Soft Accessories
Does your pirate need a sword to complete his costume? Does your little fairy princess have a magic wand? Make-believe accessories, like knives, swords and wands, should be soft and flexible, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, make sure it’s short enough for your kid to carry easily. Otherwise, a child could easily trip and hurt himself, or another trick-or-treater.
6. Walk on Sidewalks
Remind young children that it is safest to walk, not run, to each house, says the CSPC. This is especially important for children wearing dark costumes. Even with reflective tape, it can be difficult for drivers to see kids darting between cars or crossing streets mid-block until it’s too late. You should also tell your children to avoid walking in the street — it’s safer to stay on well-lit sidewalks.
From ghosts and goblins to princesses and superheroes, Halloween is a time to be creative and have some fun. As your imagination comes alive, though, make sure you’re also keeping safety in mind for your family’s Halloween costumes. With a little planning, you can help keep your Halloween safe and fun.
Originally published on October 8, 2012.