MPH Blog

Halloween Trick or Treating Safety Tips

Halloween is likely one of the most highly-anticipated fall traditions for U.S. children. Dressing up in costumes, staying out a little late, coming home with half their weight in candy—there’s unlikely any tradition that sounds more like a child planned it. However, the fun has to be balanced by an adult’s caution. Halloween is the third-deadliest day of the year, behind New Year’s Eve and Thanksgiving. A trick-or-treating child is twice as likely to be killed on Halloween than a child on any other day of the year. Here’s what you can do to make sure your child has a safe and fun Halloween.

Teach Kids How to Be Visible

Between walking around on a dark night and the sheer number of people outside, the biggest problem for drivers on Halloween is pedestrian visibility. If you teach your child how to be seen (and seen from a distance), they are far more likely to be safe. The first step is the most basic: as your child is thinking about what they want to wear, try to steer them towards a bright costume. Dressing in an all-black Batman costume during a dark night is not a safe move—there are usually alternatives to dark costumes, no matter who your child wants to dress as.

If they are already wearing a dark costume, the next thing you can do is place small strips of reflective tape all over their costume. Any oncoming car will see your child much more quickly, allowing it more time to stop. Finally, teach your child to only cross streets in groups. Groups of people are usually led by older children or parents—if you are not with your child while he or she is trick-or-treating, the next best thing is to teach them to cross with other people. Besides being visible, large groups will naturally move more slowly and cautiously.

Coordinate with Other Parents

If you will not be with your children while they trick-or-treat, ask another family if your child can join them. Coordinating with neighbors will mean that your child can be taken care of and seen by multiple adults. It also keeps your children from being tempted to go off-route when they are supposed to remain with others.

Speaking of routes, know your child’s route! Make sure they stick to it, and ask them to check in periodically. Trade phone numbers with any neighbors you know will be on the route. The general principle here is to utilize the power of community. Many careful and alert adults are far more effective than one pair of eyes, no matter how careful you are.

Halloween is not just fun—it is also a great opportunity for children to stretch their wings a bit, to wield a little independence in a safe and local environment. As long as you prepare by coordinating with your neighbors and community members, you can keep your child seen and accounted for, even without your presence. Have a fun Halloween, and above all, stay safe!

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.