Trick or Treat: easy to remember Halloween safety tips

Kids love Halloween, and I mean L.O.V.E.

It must be all the candy or something…who knows.

I personally could do without all the costume hoopla and acquiring an insane amount of candy that I feel compelled to dispose of the very next day. Okay, not the next day but definitely by week’s end.

I know, I know…bah humbug.

But you know what? I learn to love it too because my kids get so excited about it and the countdown to trick-or-treating is definitely on over here. We’ll probably even watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown tonight to get us me in the mood.

We’ve got one Princess Butterfly and one Skeleton Boy who can’t wait to roam our neighborhood after dark and go door to door begging for candy. What’s not to love about that?

Whatever your feelings are about Halloween, ecstatic or reluctant like me, knowing some key Halloween safety tips is always a good idea. I’ve put some together for you in a fun and easy way to remember…

T  Tame that hunger. Provide your little goblins with a well balanced dinner: protein packed and plenty of fruits and vegetables. That way they won’t be tempted to fill their little bellies full of sugar.

R  Remember to look both ways before crossing the street. This is a good time to go over pedestrian safety before they head out the door. Halloween is the deadliest and most dangerous night for pedestrians. Yikes! Remind your children to walk, not run. To cross at designated crosswalks when possible, to travel in groups, and never to dart out between cars or onto driveways. Keep younger children within arm’s reach, especially if you’ve got a “runner”.

I  Invite friends. There really is safety in numbers and when trick-or-treating this is especially true. Plus, it’s always more fun when friends come along!

C  Choking hazards: always check your young child’s candy before they dig in. Children less than four should not be given small, round, hard candies. These are definite choking hazards. In addition, peanuts, gum, and gooey candy should be avoided in this age group due to the potential for choking. And? See my recent post on children and choking.

K  Kid friendly costumes. Make sure your child’s costume does not drag or have a mask that limits his visibility. Opt for toxic free face paint instead. Check to see that it’s flame resistant. Oh, and of course, take lots of pictures!


O  Only adults should do the pumpkin carving. Our kids are begging us to carve the multitude of pumpkins they’ve acquired on recent pumpkin patch field trips. However, I’m not too excited about bringing out the sharp knives. Do you blame me? We’ve already had them paint faces on them. Big Brother aka Skeleton Boy, however, will not be satisfied until we convert his into a jack-0-lantern. So, we will. I love the pumpkin carving kits now available almost everywhere Halloween supplies are sold. These kits come with everything you need minus the scary sharp knives.

R  Review stranger safety rules with your children. It’s odd that on Halloween we allow our children to accept candy from strangers and some children even feel comfortable walking right into a house of someone they’ve never met before! Halloween is fun and you’ll be right there with them, however, take the opportunity to remind them that they should never enter a house of someone they don’t know to receive a treat. Nor should they dive into their candy stash before you’ve had the chance to inspect it.


T  Take along some light. Have your children each bring a flashlight. Put glow sticks in their candy bag or apply reflective tape to their costumes. Anything that will light their way and keep them visible as they cross streets and walk the neighborhood. My kids love those battery operated “candles”. We put a couple in their pumpkin candy bags and they love it! This is also a great way to light up those jack-o-lanterns without the fire hazard of a real flame.

R  Ration those treats. If your kids are anything like mine, once they get home, they’ll dump their candy stash out onto the floor. Their eyes are wide and crazy with excitement and they are ready to pounce. Sure, let them have a couple. Then? Set aside a week’s worth (2 to 3 pieces per day for a week) and donate the rest. Some dental offices in our area have a candy buyback program and they send the candy off to the US Troops. Surely, we can get our kids excited about that instead of being sad that 75% of their candy is going bye bye.

E  Entryway safety. Make sure the walkway to your home is free of clutter and anything children could trip over on the way to your door. Keep dogs secure and maintain a well lit path for little princesses and ghosts.

A  Adult supervision. This is a no brainer for young children. Keep them within arm’s reach. However, for older children up to the age of 12, I believe they still need some adult monitoring. Sure give them their space and some independence. Hang back and monitor from a distance. Let them trick-or-treat with their friends. Remind them of “safe houses” they can go to if they should become separated from their group. These “safe houses” should be homes of well known friends. Apparently there is an app called the trick or tracker…it’s like GPS for your independent trick or treater. I have to admit, I kind of like that idea.

T  Teeth. Show those baby and big kid teeth some TLC during this sugary laden day. Brush before and after candy consumption. Avoid more than 2-3 pieces of candy per day and minimize the amount of sticky and hard candies your child consumes since these expose the teeth to sugar for a longer period of time.

Okay, there you have it, my tips for a safe and fun Halloween! Enjoy.

Do you have any safety tips you want to share?

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13 Responses to Trick or Treat: easy to remember Halloween safety tips
  1. EBMMommy
    October 28, 2011 | 10:51 am

    Thanks for the tips, Dr. Mom! For some other, less well-known Halloween safety hazards (glow stick injuries, anyone?), visit my blog

  2. Stefanie
    October 28, 2011 | 11:20 am

    As always, I read one of your posts and think…OMG our community would love that!! Going to have to find a way to bribe her, I mean convince her to become an expert on PedSafe :)

    In all seriousness, thank you for providing such an intelligent and yet still very easy way to remember child safety at Halloween.

    One other tip to consider – especially for older kids trick or treating on their own. Make sure cellphones are charged, that “safety” numbers are programmed for speed-dial, and arrange for regular text or phone check-ins.

    Thanks again,

    • Melissa
      October 30, 2011 | 11:07 am

      Thank you Stefanie for your kind words, I really appreciate it. I love your site and love that it’s completely devoted to child safety. You are doing such a wonderful service and I’m honored whenever I get the opportunity to write for you :)

      Thanks so much for the tip about cellphones and older kids. Great way to stay in touch and put parents’ minds at ease.

      Have a wonderful Halloween!

  3. JDaniel4's Mom
    October 29, 2011 | 6:04 pm

    These are great tips! We trick or treated tonight and had trouble making it up crowded steps filled with pumpkins and flowers.

    • Melissa
      October 30, 2011 | 11:08 am

      How fun that you got to go trick or treating already! I kind of wish our neighborhood would do that. I’m not a big fan of doing it on a school night…

  4. Katherine
    October 30, 2011 | 9:36 am

    We let our children eat (almost) as much candy as they want on Halloween night. (Which never ends up being as much as we think it might be.) And then the rest of the candy goes to the top of the fridge, to be given out, 2 pieces a day, after dinner for the next month. It works out well.

    • Melissa
      October 30, 2011 | 11:09 am

      That’s a great strategy! I know I have to donate it by week’s end…or else it ends up going in MY mouth 😉

      Have a fun Halloween!

  5. Michele
    October 31, 2011 | 5:35 am

    Great tips, and I love another (not huge) fan of Halloween! I could totally skip this holiday and be ok!

  6. Mary Georger
    October 31, 2011 | 9:18 am

    You may also want to download some apps for your children’s safety and your piece of mind. I’m the editor at The Recapp, an app review website, and we recently reviewed some additional apps for Halloween night. Please stop by and download these tonight!

    Mary Georger

    editor, The Recapp

  7. Practical Parenting
    October 31, 2011 | 2:41 pm

    Great tips, and I love the creativity!

  8. Nicole
    November 21, 2011 | 12:37 pm

    I know I am a bit late on this but have been catching up on emails.

    I must say most of your tips are spot on. But I must disagree with your promotion of GPS tracking for children, especially when walking around their own neighborhood. If you do not trust your children enough to not track them aka big brother, they should not be out on their own. What kind of message does it send to the kids other than ‘its not safe without mom and dad’ As studies have shown, Halloween is one of the safer nights for children because they are ALL out and about. Teach safety, safe neighbors, and common sense, not fear for the world. How else are children to learn how to manage the world around them?

    A fellow pediatrician.

    • Nicole
      December 1, 2011 | 6:56 pm

      After reading more posts I realize you use ‘big brother’ to describe your son. I wanted to make it clear that in my previous post I use big brother in the orwellian sense, not refering to your son :)

      • Melissa
        December 2, 2011 | 12:31 am

        I understood what you meant but thanks for the clarification. BTW, I wasn’t necessarily promoting the use of the GPS tracker and I agree with everything you said. Don’t want to instill fear in our children, we want to empower them. Still, can’t help but think it’s kind of a nice feature :)