Tricks for a Safe Halloween

Five tips for treating your kids to a safe Halloween.

Several kids go trick-or-treating on Halloween.

Once upon a time, Halloween had more tricks than treats. Well into the 20th century, pranksters roamed the streets every October 31, making plenty of noise—and mischief. Some towns actually appointed special police to make sure things didn't get out of hand.

Today's annual costume-and-candy extravaganza probably seems tame by comparison. Still, Halloween safety is as important as ever—and not that tricky to achieve.

Here are five basic Halloween tips to staying safe while out trick-or-treating:

Choose a fitting disguise

Help kids pick costumes that:

  • Fit well and won't make them trip
  • Are made of flame-resistant materials
  • Aren't too dark and have reflective tape for nighttime visibility

Light up the night

Give kids light sticks or a flashlight with fresh batteries to help them see at night.

Accessorize with caution

Choose nontoxic makeup (which won't block vision like a mask might) and sturdy, well-fitting shoes. Make sure any objects that are part of the costume, such as swords, are soft and flexible.

Follow the safest treat trail

Kids of all ages should know—and practice—these door-to-door rules:

  • Stay with the group. For kids younger than age 12, that group should include a parent or other trusted adult.
  • Walk, don't run.
  • Never go inside a house or apartment without a parent.
  • Stay on sidewalks and avoid dark areas and all alleys.
  • Cross streets in groups and only at crosswalks.
  • Save all treats so they can be inspected at home before they're eaten.

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Help big kids avoid spooky situations

If kids are mature enough to go trick-or-treating without an adult, insist they carry their phones and IDs, follow a predetermined route in a familiar area, and meet their curfew.

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