Halloween Safety Tips: Is Trick-Or-Treating Safe? Staying Safe While Having Fun [Opinion]

Halloween safety for trick-or-treating is a source of hot debate, mostly between children and parents but also in more public safety discussions between parents, communities, and law enforcement. Trick-or-treating is a time-honored tradition, but how safe is it in 2017? Halloween parties might be safer, but most children love to trick-or-treat.

Trick-Or-Treating: Is It Safe?
The Halloween tradition of trick-or-treating and safety are often juxtaposed in any discussion of Halloween. Safety is obviously a matter of opinion, with a consideration of the area in mind, but experts have Halloween safety advice.

Halloween safety is challenged by trick-or-treating. It is a tradition that most parents and grandparents remember fondly, but is it still safe? How old should a child be before being allowed to trick-or-treat alone or with same age friends on Halloween?

Halloween trick-or-treating safety experts say trick-or-treating children must be supervised by adults. It could be rationally argued that by the time a child is old enough to trick-or-treat without parental supervision, they would be too old for trick-or-treating. WNCT reports the New Bern, NC, Police Department recommends never sending children out to trick-or-treat alone. The Illinois State Police agree, according to Chicago’s CBS Local.

Halloween Safety Means Adult Supervision
Halloween safety always includes supervision by responsible adults, whether at a party, haunted house, or trick-or-treating. Someone must go out to make sure kids stay safe while having fun.

Safety supervision also includes the parent who stays home on Halloween night. Parents should always take a photo of their child in their trick-or-treating costume before sending them out with another adult. This not only commemorates the occasion if all goes well, but it helps police if children don’t return home on time, according to the New Bern Police.

Staging a trick-or-treating photo shoot could be a fun activity before the main event. These safety photos don’t have to be grim mug shots. These trick-or-treating photos would be a great way to share the moment and could be sent via cell phone to all the parents and grandparents involved.

A set curfew is important when trick-or-treating, even though children are accompanied by a trusted adult. Trick-or-treating fun is important but Halloween safety takes precedence. Exact routes should be planned and discussed so that if one child or the whole group including adults go missing, someone knows where to start looking.

Children require close supervision and should also be informed about set rules to reinforce safety before the event. Trick-or-treating on Halloween is dangerous due to traffic as well as other risks. It is important children know to look both ways before crossing the street.

Trick-or-treating children should only cross at marked crosswalks on Halloween night. Children should not cut through alleys, backyards or lawns, and always walk on sidewalks, not the street or road.

Halloween safety starts with safe flame-resistant costumes that do not obstruct the child’s vision in any way. Halloween safety also includes making sure the costume won’t cause the child to stumble or trip. Trick-or-treating kids should wear bright, reflective colors says the American Academy of Pediatrics, adding that reflective tape can be added to trick-or-treat bags and the backs of costumes.

Halloween Safety And Costume Accessories
Halloween costumes should not include any sort of guns, even fake ones. Yes, cowboys are cute, but no six shooters on Halloween. In the interest of safety, pirate swords should not be sharp at all. Use a wooden, plastic, or cardboard sword when trick or treating. Giving a child ninja stars, knives, crossbows, or any other sort of weapon is not safe, either.

Children dressed in Halloween costumes
Children dressed in Halloween costumes by Benny Marty

Halloween safety also includes eye safety. Do not use mail order decorative contact lenses. These are completely unsafe, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.”

While face painting is a great way to avoid those vision occluding masks, the products should be tested on a small patch of skin, days before Halloween, to ensure there is no allergic reaction.

Trick-Or-Treating Safety Checklist

  • A good meal before going trick-or-treating prevents nausea from too many sweet treats.
  • Take a photo of each child in full Halloween costume before going out.
  • Adult supervision of trick-or-treating children is a must for safety.
  • Bring cell phones and use check-in times to keep other parents informed if it takes longer than planned.
  • Bring several flashlights with good batteries.
  • Keep trick-or-treating children together in a group and on the sidewalk.
  • Check all treats carefully before allowing anyone to consume them.

Halloween Safety For The Elderly
For those who enjoy trick-or-treating kids and love to hand out candy, Halloween can be a great deal of fun, but at the same time, it is always safety first. Don’t allow children inside if you don’t know them well.

Halloween black cat
Halloween black cat by Benny Marty Shutterstock

On Halloween, older people should also band together for their own safety, perhaps having a party and giving out treats together, suggests Fox 2 News. Consider inviting friends or relatives over that night to avoid mischief by trick-or-treating teens or robbers posing as trick-or-treating kids. These days, it isn’t even considered safe to hand out candy alone.

Halloween safety need not prevent fun. October 31 is, after all, just like any other night, except for all the activity. Kids need to have fun whether trick-or-treating, going to a Halloween party, or attending a haunted house attraction.

Still, Halloween safety is important. Drivers should be extra cautious on Halloween since trick-or-treating kids will be out on the streets and roads. Kids and their adult supervisors need to be on high alert for traffic and any other potential dangers. Even those who stay home should be careful, especially the elderly.

Halloween parties might be a bit safer in 2017 than trick-or-treating. Churches and communities frequently have safe Halloween alternative parties, and most malls even offer trick-or-treating. Horror movies will be playing in the cinemas, and there is always Netflix. There are many options but wherever children are going, adults need to accompany them.

Halloween safety is a matter of choice, but in 2017, trick-or-treating should be approached with safety in mind.

[Featured Image by Altanaka/Shutterstock]