The Only Halloween Safety Tips You’ll Need

The only Halloween Safety Tips You'll Need from Smart Kids 101

Halloween can be a fun time of year for kids — a night where they can stay up late with friends, pretend to be princesses and pirates, and eat all the free candy they can get their hands on.

But for parents, perhaps it’s a different story. See, we parents are charged with protecting our little ones — trained to sense danger! And so we see the inherent risks involved in events like Halloween: candles, food allergies, and stranger danger, OH MY! What’s a parent to do?

Relax. I gotcha covered. Below you’ll find the only halloween safety tips you’ll need. Yes, 11 little nuggets of joy that will help keep the fun in the holiday and your kids out of the Emergency Room.

11 Halloween Safety Tips to Keep Your Kids Out of the Emergency Room

1. Pick Safe Halloween Costumes

Halloween safety tips start with the costume, naturally. Keep your halloween costumes appropriate and safe. What should you look for in a safe costume?

  • It should fit right. Don’t buy a size too big because it was the only one left!
  • Speaking of too-big sizes, steer clear of tripping hazards.
  • Get shoes that won’t give blisters and aren’t a nightmare to walk in (I’m looking at you, high heels).
  • Make sure any accessories like swords or magic wands are short and flexible.
  • Use a mask that doesn’t obstruct vision (or non-toxic face paint instead — but test a discreet area for skin allergies first).

2. Walk with a Group

Not only is it more fun to be with friends, but it’s also much more safe. Teach kids to stay with the group, and include a trusted adult in that lineup.

And be sure to instruct your kids on the basics of stranger danger: not to go inside strangers’ cars or homes (even especially if promised candy) and how to say NO to someone and yell loudly for help. (If you’d like us to cover the important topics for you, buy the Safe Kids 101 e-Course for just $20. Talk about a scary-good deal!)

3. Plan Your Walking Route in Advance

Before setting out on the night of October 31st, do a little reconnoissance mission and plan your route. Take into account:

  • neighbors you know
  • people who have given good candy before 😉
  • that aggressive dog to avoid
  • particularly frightening houses to avoid (or seek out, if that’s your family’s thing)

If you’re letting your kids over 12 years old walk without adult supervision, this planned route becomes even more important. Make sure they know all about these halloween safety tips. Clearly communicate your expectations, particularly when it comes to staying with a group at all times and when they should be home. If possible, send a cell phone with them.

4. Be Visible

The number 1 Halloween safety concern of parents is pedestrian safety — and rightfully so: Twice as many child pedestrians are killed on Halloween night than other nights of the year (1). There’s no need to panic, though. Just follow my halloween safety tips and make sure your kids are extra visible.

This could include the use of reflective tape in the costume (bonus points if you incorporate it in somehow — a pint-sized construction worker, for example, could easily make the tape part of his costume).

If your child just isn’t going for the reflective tape idea, try using glow sticks or glow sticks, necklaces, and bracelets. The bright colors help your spot your child in the sea of trick or treat kids. PLUS, these are an easy sell because they are such fun for the kids. (Though not a great idea for babies or little ones who still chew on things — they’re considered minimally toxic if ingested. Gross!)

And, of course, a flashlight is a must — both so you can be seen by others and so you all don’t trip over yet another crack in the sidewalk. Skinned knees are no fun!

Halloween Safety Tips #4 Be Visible find more at Smart Kids 101

5. Be Safe Traveling By Car

If you must travel by car on Halloween night, please be extra cautious. Keep space for pedestrians (even if you don’t see them), and drive more slowly than usual through neighborhoods. Excited kids can be unpredictable, so taking it easy really is best. And for heaven’s sakes, put your phone away! (But you don’t text and drive anyway, do you? Smart move.)

6. Walk Safely

Bonus: This one extends far beyond halloween safety tips into the rest of the year, too!

Use your regular neighborhood walking procedures: make sure kids walk on the sidewalks, against the flow of traffic. Have them practice looking both ways (with you double checking) before crossing the street. And walk, don’t run — obviously. Remind kids that it’s not a race to get the most candy. Everyone who doesn’t get hit by a car wins, ya know?

7. Watch for Candles!

Here’s one one of the halloween safety tips you typically don’t have to worry about too much the rest of the year: catching the bottom of your dress on fire. Yes, candle safety is super-important to cover, especially this time of year. So help your kids be aware of their costumes when candles are lighting the path to someone’s door, for example.

Purchasing a flame-retardant costume is also a pretty smart idea. And you’re a smart parent, so there you go.

And if you’re decorating your own house, keep this in mind: skip real candles altogether and purchase the little battery-operated tea lights (also good for jack-o-lanterns) or even rope lights to light the way. It’s safer and less of a pain in the rear, if you ask me.

8. No Pranking

Make sure your tweens and teenagers know that pulling pranks is not acceptable. The peer pressure can get them on this one, so help them understand that not only is it bad trick or treat manners but it can also ruin their night if they get caught. Somebody has to clean up those eggs — or that toilet paper — so it’s best to skip the hilarious pranks altogether. (I was being sarcastic there, in case you couldn’t tell. Pranks aren’t funny. Now get off my lawn, you durn kids!)

9. Put Some Form of Identification on Your Child

There’s crowds, there’s hub-bub, it’s dark: someone’s bound to get lost. One of the best halloween safety tips is to make sure your smaller kids can locate you by putting some form of identification on them:

  • A “dog tag” style necklace with names and phone numbers
  • A temporary tattoo with the necessary information
  • A name tag with a phone number inside their costume
  • Writing on their bellies with a washable marker — just keeping it real, people!

Coach your kids on memorizing your phone number and then practice it often. Beyond halloween safety tips, it’s a good idea for them to know your phone number anyway, so now’s the perfect time to start.

10. Eat Only Packaged, Inspected Halloween Candy

And now for one of the most totally unfair halloween safety tips of all: Ask your kids to wait to eat their candy until you’ve been able to inspect it at home in good lighting. (Wink wink — and steal a piece or two — I call it “food tax,” which is really just preparing the kids for real life. Haha.)

Unless it’s from a neighbor you personally know and trust, don’t let your kids eat homemade halloween goods. This is also a good chance to remove any food allergy concerns from the pile. And please be careful not to let young kids have any choking hazards like hard candy or gum.

Halloween Safety Tips #10 Inspect Candy and more at Smart Kids 101

11. How to Handle the Extra Halloween Candy

Sure, there’s a safety concern with eating too much candy. We don’t want any stomach aches or cavities! But different families handle this one differently. So I’ll just give you this to chew on (pardon the pun)…

Feed kids a hearty meal before they go out to trick or treat, so they at least get some good food in their bellies first. After passing candy inspection, some families let their kids eat as much as they want that first night and then donate the rest. Many dentists collect extra candy to send to our military troops overseas. Everyone wins!

Other families use the rationing method — allowing a set amount of candy per day until it’s gone. (Or at least, until the good stuff is gone, right?) And some parents (especially those with very young kids or kids with food allergies) trade candy for a healthier special treat or a small toy. Also brilliant.

Think about what’s right for your family, and then do that. No guilt trips here!

So those are my halloween safety tips. Did I miss anything? Please let me know your bonus tips below in the comments! And tell me how you’re planning to keep your kids safe this halloween! I love hearing from you, as always.

READ NEXT: 8 Easy Ways Kids Can Use Manners (Even During Trick or Treat)

Sign up for our Babysitting, Safety, or Manners e-Courses today

About Aubrey Hunt
Before hopping on the crazy ride we call motherhood, I studied engineering and taught math and science to middle and high school students. Now, perhaps like you, I fill my days singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider and praying my preschooler will eat a vegetable — any vegetable!