While many Halloween alternatives have cropped up over the past few decades, door-to-door trick-or-treating is still one of the most popular Halloween activities for children. Hershey found that 81% of parents said they plan to take their children trick-or-treating—so it’s likely you will be one of those parents.
Because you want your kids to have a lot of fun while staying out of danger, it’s always good to review some basic trick-or-treating safety tips to help protect your children. Don’t worry—these tips won’t suck all the fun out of Halloween.
- Supervise your younger kids and make sure your older kids trick-or-treat in a group and only in well-known areas. As a rule of thumb, always supervise kids under 12 when they go trick-or-treating. Walk with them and accompany them to people’s doors. For kids 12 years or older, make sure they know your rules and share their plans with you. They should walk with groups of friends, never enter a person’s house or car, and stick to well-known, well-lit areas of the neighborhood. And make sure they carry a cell phone with them where they can easily access it.
- Be careful where you walk. Walking at night introduces risks even on a normal day, so Halloween isn’t any different. Stick to sidewalks whenever possible, walk on the opposite side of the road facing traffic if sidewalks are missing, and be extra careful when crossing the street. Try to cross at crosswalks rather than cutting across a street. It’s harder for drivers to see you and stop at night.
- Do whatever you can to make costumes bright and reflective. Many Halloween costumes like witches or Batman will naturally be mostly black, but do what you can to make your children visible at night. Ideally, have your kids wear costumes with brighter colors such as white or yellow. If they insist on wearing a black costume, add reflective tape (like runners do) and have them carry a flashlight to help others see them.
- Buy or make safer costumes. Costumes sometimes look great but can be really unsafe. Masks or hats can prevent your children from seeing well. Props like fake swords or knives can be dangerous. Costumes like robes or cloaks can be too long, making it easy for your child to trip or the clothing to catch fire if they pass a candle. When possible, buy or make costumes that give your children easy visibility and allow them plenty of room for their legs to walk easily.
- Check all candy when your children get home. Even your oldest children need to do this. Only keep factory-wrapped candy and food that looks completely sealed. Throw out any candy or food that is unwrapped or looks like the wrapping has been opened. And while you may know your neighbors well, still be extremely cautious about unwrapped fruit or food that they gave your children. You just never know, so err on the side of caution by throwing it out.
If these tips are spooking you so much that you’re reconsidering trick-or-treating, there are safer alternatives that you can provide as options to your kids. For example:
- Many malls often host trick-or-treating events where businesses give out candy in place of neighbors. Because these events are more observed, secure, and well-lit, it’s less likely that anything unsafe will happen. Plus, you and your kids don’t have to worry about wandering streets at night.
- Throw a neighborhood party in place of trick-or-treating. You can still have your kids dress up in costumes and get candy from family, friends, and neighbors. Because you can vet the food, drinks, and candy in your home, it’s more likely that your kids will remain safe. And again, no streets.
However you spend it, we hope you have a safe and happy Halloween! Contact us if anything goes wrong this Halloween and you need a great personal injury attorney!