Whether you’re throwing a monster mash or going trick-or-treating with your little ghouls and goblins, you want Halloween to be a happy, memorable experience for everyone. But with all the candies, costumes and decor, not to mention the nighttime setting, some precautions should be taken.
When planning Halloween for your family, be sure to think ahead to all the potential dangers. For example, if you’re passing out goodies, avoid treats containing nuts because children with allergies could eat them by mistake.
Light your walkways to prevent falls, and dress your kids in reflective outfits and makeup so they’re clearly visible to motorists. Remind your kids to use the buddy system when trick-or-treating, and ensure their costumes meet Health Canada’s safety requirements.
You should also make sure that all Halloween decorations and toys are safe and appropriate.
Halloween is supposed to be a night of fun and festivity, but it can also pose dangers for young trick-or-treaters. Whether you’ll be handing out candy or running around with your little monsters to collect it, here are some helpful tips for ensuring everyone has a safe, happy Halloween:
- Hand out nut-free Halloween treats in sealed packages and consider alternatives to sugar, such as small toys, tattoos, stickers, pretzels and popcorn.
- Feed your kids before they go out trick-or-treating and tell them to avoid eating treats until they’ve been checked by you.
- Inspect all treats to make sure they’re sealed, and throw out candy with open or torn wrappers.
Parents should always accompany children under the age of 12 during trick-or-treating to keep them safe and sound. If your child is older and wants to trick or treat with friends, make sure they go in a group of at least three friends and check in regularly via cellphone. Whether your trick-or-treaters are tykes or teens, you can help make sure they stay out of harm’s way by reminding them to follow these simple Halloween safety tips:
- Choose brightly coloured costumes or add reflective tape so your superheroes are visible to motorists.
- Have your child carry a flashlight with new batteries or wear a glowstick as a bracelet or necklace to help them see and be seen.
- Teach your child to stick to well lit homes in your neighbourhood and never enter strangers’ homes or cars.
- Remind your child to avoid crossing streets unnecessarily, to cross only at corners or crosswalks and to look both ways when crossing.
- Give your older child a pre-programmed cellphone to stay in touch, call for help or be easily located.
- Stick a name tag with your phone number on your younger child’s costume, so you can be reached easily in case you’re separated.
Halloween can be frightful and dangerous for family pets. It’s up to you to keep your dogs and cats safe from potentially harmful Halloween treats or tricks by pranksters. It’s also important to keep little trick-or-treaters safe from your pets. You know your pets better than anyone, but this could be a good time to keep the animals inside and even locked away in a secure part of the house. Here are some helpful ways to ensure your furry friends avoid harm on Halloween night:
- Make sure dogs and cats avoid chocolate (which can be deadly to pets) and wrappers (which can be choking hazards or get stuck in their digestive tracts).
- Keep candles or lit pumpkins out of reach of curious cats or wagging dog tails or choose flameless candles to prevent burns.
- Be careful in your use of extension cords for Halloween decor to prevent electrical shock.
- Pet costumes are fun, but don’t dress your pets in outfits that cause discomfort, constrict movement or breathing, or are unsafe in any way.
Whether you’re buying your child a costume or making your own, it’s important to keep comfort, safety and visibility in mind. Your child’s costume should fit well to reduce the likelihood of tripping, but also be large enough to accommodate additional clothing layers for extra warmth. For improved nighttime visibility, choose brightly coloured outfits and consider makeup or face paint instead of masks. The following costume safety tips can help your little ones get their share of loot while playing it safe:
- Look for costumes and wigs in flame-resistant materials (such as nylon and polyester) and avoid highly flammable materials (such as cotton and spray-on glitter).
- Avoid costumes and accessories that may be tripping or strangulation hazards (such as high heels, capes, sashes, jewellery and flowing gowns).
- Ensure that toy weapons, such as swords and knives, are made of soft, flexible materials and don’t have sharp edges or points.
- Test your children for adverse reactions to kids’ face paint several days in advance.
Halloween Party Safety
Halloween Party Safety
Halloween is a time for neighbourhood parties, yard haunts and community get-togethers. Whether you’re hosting an event or attending as a guest, you can enjoy harmless holiday fun by keeping a few sensible safety tips in mind:
- If you take your young kids to a local Halloween party or community trick-or-treating event, be sure to supervise them at all time.
- When deciding on eerie entrées for your food menu, find out if your guests have food allergies and plan accordingly.
- If you’re serving alcohol, keep an eye on your guests and discourage drinking and driving.
- If you’re driving to an event and plan to drink alcohol, be sure to have a designated driver.
Home and Yard Safety
Home and Yard Safety
It can be great fun for family and neighbours to spook up your home for Halloween. But whatever theme you choose, it’s important to provide a safe environment for trick-or-treaters. Here are some helpful Halloween decor tips to hazard-proof your home for holiday fun:
- Keep your home exterior, including steps and walkways, well lit with pathway lighting and free of obstructions that a princess might trip over.
- Never leave burning candles unattended, and keep open flames away from dried flowers, cornstalks, haybales and crepe paper.
- For lighting up carved pumpkins, choose safer lighting alternatives such as LED candles, flashlights and glow sticks.
- Keep candles and jack-o-lanterns away from doorsteps, landings, entryways and walkways, where they can be knocked over by kids and pets.
- Don’t allow young kids to carve pumpkins to avoid injury.
Halloween Driving Tips
- Avoid driving in residential areas on Halloween from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., since that’s when most trick-or-treating takes place.
- Drive well below the posted speed limit in neighbourhoods and give yourself extra time to get to your destination.
- Pay close attention at crosswalks and intersections and stay alert for children stepping onto the road or emerging unexpectedly from between parked cars.
- Be extra cautious for trick-or-treaters when entering and exiting driveways
- Avoid distracted driving, including using a cellphone, on Halloween night.