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Quick tips for safe trick-or-treating

By The Health News Team | October 31, 2023
Kids in costumes on Halloween

Trick-or-treating is a treasured tradition. Most adults honor the nostalgia: the cool costumes, the time with friends, and the hours rummaging through hard-earned loot. We also remember our own parents, riddled with fear, giving guidelines on safely navigating the night.

“Don’t stay out past 9.”

“Is that fake blood or real blood?”

“Stick together!”

“Did you show me that candy before you ate it?”

Today’s trick-or-treaters face the same Halloween hazards as we did. But unfortunately, the years have added a few more. If your ghost or goblin (or Swiftie or Mario Brother) is dressing up to go door to door this year, keep these safety tips in mind.


Be cautious with costumes.

Every parent knows you can’t steer a kid from their costume of choice, but you can ensure that it checks a few safety guidelines. Make sure the costume is well-fitting to avoid trips and falls, and stay away from full or cumbersome masks that may interfere with visibility. Keep weather in mind and adjust the costume accordingly, making sure your child doesn’t overheat in San Diego’s warm fall temps or catch a cold in the nighttime chill. And in light of COVID-19’s recent uptick, try to discourage mask swapping.


Keep street safety top of mind.

On average, the odds of a child being struck and killed by a car on Halloween doubles when compared to the average evening. Invest in wearable lights that can be clipped onto costumes and may even enhance the “cool” factor. Pass out glow sticks and flashlights for the kids to carry and bring extras for others, so the group can “glow” together and enjoy the safety of power in numbers. If possible, plan a route that’s well-lit and light on traffic.


Steer clear of flammable costume and decor catastrophes.

Halloween and funky fire decorations go hand-in-hand, from carved pumpkins to sidewalk candles. And worse, costumes and decorations may feature flammable materials, such as cornstalks or cardboard. Make sure costumes are fire-resistant and avoid fabrics that drag or are billowy. At your own home, swap real candles with the battery-operated kind. And remember, Halloween is always a good time to check your smoke alarms to ensure the batteries are good.


Keep candy consumption under watch.

Razor blades in chocolate bars may be more of an urban legend than a genuine threat, but that doesn’t mean candy shouldn’t be checked before it’s eaten. Some candy may contain allergens, some may pose a choking hazard if not age-appropriate, and some candy could be mistaken for cannabis products. What’s more, while candy trading is a rite of passage, sharing tastes of treats can pass around common winter ailments, including the flu.


Prepare for the scare.

Every big kid knows the joy of scaring little kids. What they forget is being the little kid. Protect your little’s emotional health by keeping the Halloween events age-appropriate and preparing them for what they may see or experience when walking around in the dark. Reading Halloween books is a great way to explain the reason for the season, and staying close to them on the day can help them feel protected.

With a little prep and a lot of caution, this Halloween holiday can be fun, safe and full of good experiences — just the way you remember it.

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