Young boy dressed as a cowboy goes trick or treating with his mother
Advice From Our Experts

Halloween Safety Tips by Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Halloween is a fun and creative time for both children and parents, but is also a night for families to pay extra attention to safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of pedestrian-related fatalities among children increases significantly on Halloween. On this specific night, children ages 5 to 14 are 4½ times more likely to be killed by a motor vehicle than any other night of the year.

To make sure you have a fun and safe evening, Helen Arbogast from our Injury Prevention Program offers parents handy tips to keep those scary injuries away.

Disguise Yourself Safely

  • Decorate costumes and trick-or-treat bags with reflective tape.
  • Costumes should be flame-retardant and fit properly. Avoid oversized shoes, high heels and long skirts or pants that could cause a child to fall.
  • Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by motorists.
  • Instead of masks, choose face paint or makeup. Masks can obstruct a child’s vision, increasing the risk for injury.
  • Do not wear decorative (non-prescription) contact lenses as they may be made from inferior plastic or contain toxic dyes, which can lead to an eye infection.
  • Avoid costumes with sharp objects such as wands or swords, which could cause eye injuries. If a sword or wand must be carried, use a belt carrier so the accessory can stay safely nestled.

Keep Scary Sweets Away

  • Have children eat a healthy meal before trick-or-treating.
  • Encourage friends and family to pass out healthier alternatives to candy, such as fruit snacks or even coloring books, pens or pencils.
  • Parents should check treats at home before letting their child consume them.
  • Watch for signs of tampering, such as small pinholes in wrappers and torn or loose packages.
  • Parents of young children should get rid of choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys. If makeup or toys are swallowed, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.

Trick-or-Treat Rules of the Road

  • It’s fantastic that families who may have skipped trick-or-treating during the pandemic are out and participating again in a favorite activity. However, parents should consider accompanying children who are headed out on the 31st for their first Halloween since the pandemic. Even older children who haven’t been out trick-or-treating with the family could benefit from adult supervision on their return Halloween fun.
  • Children should never go into a stranger’s house under any circumstances.
  • Plan a path that is well-lit and always use the sidewalk.
  • Stay in a group and communicate to children about where they will be going.
  • Cross roads at established crosswalks. Never cross between parked cars or out of driveways. Drivers may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. If one car stops, that doesn’t mean other cars will.
  • Obey all traffic and pedestrian rules.
  • Always walk. Never run when crossing a street.

Un-Haunt Your House

  • Keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters by removing anything a child could trip over, such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Remove wet leaves from sidewalks and steps.

Don’t Be a Hair-Raising Motorist

  • Being alert while driving on Halloween is highly important. Trick-or-treaters who are excited may move in unpredictable ways.
  • Anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn on headlights earlier in the day.
  • Slow down and take the extra time to look for kids at intersections, and on medians and curbs.
  • Be cautious while entering and exiting driveways and alleys.
  • Eliminate any distractions inside your car to concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
  • Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., so be particularly alert for pedestrians during those hours.