Keep kids safe at Halloween

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

It’s dress-up and candy time. Not my favorite holiday, but fun for the kids. Keep it that way by making sure your kids stay safe.

I have received several good press releases regarding the holiday and thought I would share. Below are some tips from on how to have a safe, spooktacular Halloween.

Choose Costumes Wisely

  • Choose a light-colored costume – it helps kids be seen more easily.
  • Masks make it difficult for kids to see and breathe, so use nontoxic face paint or makeup instead.
  • Make sure that costume props, such as wands or swords, are flexible, in case kids fall.
  • Put a nametag — with your phone number — on your children’s costumes.

Trouble-Free Trick-or-Treating

  • Accompany young children under the age of 10 on their rounds and try to go early before it gets too dark.
  • For older kids going out on their own, be sure they carry a cell phone, if possible, go in a group and stay together, only go to houses with porch lights on, and carry a flashlight with new batteries.
  • If kids want to visit neighborhoods other than your own, be sure to stress the rules about strangers.
  • Check all treats to make sure there are no signs of tampering and throw out loose candy, spoiled items, and any homemade treats.
  • Make sure your home is safe by removing anything that might obstruct your walkway, providing a well-lit entrance, and keeping pets away from trick-or-treaters, even if they seem harmless to you.

Pumpkin-Carving Precautions

  • Children should never handle knives. Instead, let them draw their designs on the pumpkin and then you do the carving.
  • If your kids beg to remove the guts of the pumpkin — as many do — let them get messy by scooping out the flesh with their hands or an ice cream scoop instead of a knife.
  • A burning candle in a pumpkin may become a blazing fire if left unattended. Use a glow stick (available in many colors) to safely illuminate your jack-o’-lantern.

“One of the challenges of being a parent is to teach your kids to be cautious without filling them with fear or anxiety,” says Dr. Cronan. “Although some dangers do exist, you lessen your kids’ risk by teaching them safety rules early on.”

Do have any more tips you could share to make Halloween “trick-free”? Please share them in the comments section below.


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3 Responses to “Keep kids safe at Halloween”

  1. mark salinas Says:

    Great tips! An additional precaution that we have to take is candy with nuts. My little guy is allergic to nuts. Thanks for this reminder!

    mark salinass last blog post..Linking time again!

  2. James Hubbard Says:

    Thanks Mark:

    I have some tips to prevent allergies in tomorrow’s blog

  3. lhubbard Says:

    Funny how times change. The last time I went trick-or-treating, carrying a cell phone was not an option. What’s a cell phone? :-)

    Leigh Ann Hubbard
    Managing Editor
    James Hubbard’s My Family Doctor

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