3 tips to help keep halloween spooky but safe

Last updated: January 1

Some people like Halloween to be a little bit spooky. But the scary stuff is supposed to be pretend: ghosts, vampires, goblins and zombies.

But it’s a good idea to take precautions against potential issues that can make tricks and treats not so fun. Here are a few simple tips to help make sure that the only surprises on Halloween are the ones you plan.

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1. Be cautious with costumes

Dressing up may be one of the best parts of celebrating this ghostly day. The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers these tips to help steer clear of costume mishaps.

  • Opt for flame-resistant costumes. The label should say "flame-resistant." Be wary of long capes, big sleeves and anything else that may potentially catch a candle flame.
  • Forgo a mask. The National Safety Council (NSC) suggests using face paint, as masks may potentially obscure your child's vision. Check that hats and scarves are secure, as well — not falling down in front of the eyes.
  • Make sure your kids can be seen. Think bright-colored costumes, with reflective tape on dark colors and treat bags. Carrying flashlights and glow sticks may also help kids be seen and help them navigate dark sidewalks and front steps.
  • Avoid tripping. High heels or too-big shoes aren't a good idea. Watch out for trip hazards from costumes, such as capes or oversized clothing.
  • Keep accessories safe. Creepy costume extras such as pretend swords or knives and the like should be made of soft and flexible material.

2. Trick-or-treat with care

With costumes donned and bags in hand, you may want to consider the following tips from the NSC to help keep the trick-or-treating experience under control.

  • Go out before dark. You may want to consider having your kids trick-or-treat during daylight hours only so it is easier for them to be seen by motorists.
  • Consider visiting familiar homes and neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods have signals that their home is accepting of trick-or-treaters: The porch light is on, the house is well-lit or the front screen door is open. Remind your children to never enter a stranger's house or car.
  • Inspect treats. Examine the candy to help ensure it's fully wrapped. Kids shouldn't eat treats until an adult has checked them for tampering.

3. Be safe with your decorations

Throwing a Halloween party can be a lot of fun, and the following safety tips may help you celebrate safely:

  • Carve with care. Let the adults do the pumpkin carving. Kids can scoop out the insides and choose the carving pattern. Remember to always put a battery-powered LED candle, rather than an open flame, inside your jack-o'-lantern to help prevent fires, says the National Fire Protection Association. As an alternative to carving, consider letting kids use a marker to draw their favorite scary face on a pumpkin.
  • Clear the way. Help prevent party-goers and trick-or-treaters from tripping by removing obstacles like pumpkins and other decorations from the pathway to your home.

In many ways, Halloween hasn't changed much over the years — it's about the costumes, the candy and the fun. With a few simple preparations, you can help keep the spooky fun safer.