Happy Halloween – Tips for a Safe Night of Trick-or-Treating

We love Halloween, and it’s almost time for those little ghosts, goblins, pirates and super heroes to come knocking on your door. Here are some tips for keeping your trick-or-treaters safe!


  • When you prepare your child’s costume, be sure all fabrics, materials and wigs are flame retardant.
  • Make sure masks have both breathing and eye holes and that eye holes are large enough for good peripheral vision. It might be a good idea to instruct your children to lift their masks over their head while walking. Or, you can choose non-toxic face paint as an alternative to a mask.
  • Long, flowing costumes require extra caution near flames, like lighted Jack-o-Lanterns. Choose proper shoes to avoid tripping.
  • Costumes should have reflective tape for visibility, and trick-or-treaters should carry flashlights or chemical glow sticks.
  • Be sure props like swords, brooms, etc., are made of flexible material. Law enforcement discourages the use of realistic looking toy guns.


Be sure kids eat dinner before heading out into the spooky night—this may help them resist the temptation to eat candy before you have checked it. You could also send a little bag of your own treats to help tide them over.

When you child is home from trick-or-treating, check all goodies and discard anything that is not individually wrapped, has broken or torn wrappers, or any beverages that are not sealed. When in doubt, throw it out! Avoid giving hard candy to toddlers and young preschoolers because of the choking hazard.


The age at which a child can trick-or-treat without an adult varies with maturity. The National Safety Council recommends that children under age 12 be supervised. When your child is ready to venture out without you, it is best for kids to go in groups. Send along a cell phone and instruct the trick-or-treaters to stay together for the entire evening. Agree on a time to be home. Map out a route and point out “off limits” areas, such as alleys and open fields.

Children should only go to homes of people they know, and should avoid houses with the outside lights off. Talk about basic safety rules like walking, staying on sidewalks, safely crossing the street and dealing with strangers.

Homeowners: Prepare Your Property!

If you will be welcoming little Halloween visitors, here are some tips for getting ready.

  • Turn on your porch light and all other outside lights.
  • Clear your yard of tripping hazards like tools, plant pots and toys.
  • Don’t forget to close your garage doors—children don’t always stay on the sidewalks!
  • Consider using battery-powered lights or chemical glow sticks in your Jack-o-Lanterns. If you do use candles, place them far away from areas where children might walk.
  • Consider backing your cars into the garage for the evening.  Then if you do need to drive, you will have a better view of children on the sidewalk than if you have to back the car out.
  • Consider isolating your pets for the evening; many pets get very agitated by the strange sights and sounds. Be sure pets are wearing collars and tags just in case they escape through a frequently-opened door. Some kinds of candy can be hazardous to pets, so keep candy out of Fido’s reach!

We wish you all “Avera” safe and happy Halloween!

By Betty and Doniese

Family Life Instructors at Avera McKennan

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