Halloween trick-or-treating: 6 tips to keep it safe and healthy

Published October 14, 2022


Halloween trick-or-treating is an activity many kids look forward to every year. But before your little superheroes and spooky skeletons run out the door, there are a few things to consider. 

Plan ahead with our practical tips to help make this Halloween a safe and healthy adventure for everyone. 

Safe and healthy trick-or-treating

1. Are the kids highly visible?

Reduce the risk of accidents by following a few practical safety tips.

  • Have kids carry flashlights or use glow sticks, reflective tape or stickers on their costumes and bags
  • Keep costumes bright with light colors rather than dark colors
  • Remind kids to cross the street at corners and crosswalks

2. Are the costumes safe?

Dressing up is part of the fun, but consider costume safety before the big day.

  • Look for flame-resistant costumes, fabrics, wigs and accessories
  • Make sure the costume's size is correct to prevent tripping. If there's a mask involved, test it to ensure their vision isn't limited
  • Test makeup in advance and opt for nontoxic makeup. Face paint can trigger allergies and cause skin irritation or injury. Check the FDA's approved list of color additives to see if the vibrant colors in the makeup you want to use are safe
  • Avoid decorative or colored contact lenses unless they are bought and prescribed by a qualified eye care professional

3. Who will supervise?

There is safety in numbers, and that includes proper supervision.

  • Choose a responsible adult(s) to accompany kids on neighborhood rounds
  • Supervise kids under 12 years old while trick-or-treating
  • Consider trick-or-treating with another family
  • Stick to the trick-or-treating hours set by your town

4. How do I make sure Halloween treats are safe?

Halloween isn't much without treats, but taking precautions will keep the scary away. 

  • Inspect all candy before allowing your kids to nibble. Remove any choking hazards, and look for signs of tampering, such as a strange appearance, pinholes or tears. Throw away anything suspicious
  • Accept only wrapped candy and open it safely. Wash hands after opening and before eating candy (assume others had unclean hands)
  • Know what "rainbow fentanyl" looks like. This highly addictive and potentially deadly fentanyl is made to look like candy to children and young people. The DEA is seizing brightly-colored pills in multiple forms, including pills, powder and blocks that resemble sidewalk chalk  
  • Join the Teal Pumpkin Project to signal your neighborhood that you are offering nonfood trinkets and allergy-safe treats for kids with food allergies 

5. Did I discuss safety awareness?

Teach (and remind) your kids to steer clear of danger before they venture out.

  • Do not approach animals and strange pets along the way. If you don't know them, avoid them
  • Never enter a stranger's house or car
  • Watch for cars turning or backing up. Make eye contact with the driver before crossing
  • Stay in familiar, well-lit areas and stick together
  • Do not eat treats before returning home
  • Keep heads up, keep devices in your pocket and be aware of your surroundings 
  • If older kids are heading out alone, agree on an acceptable route and a specific time to be home

6. What health precautions should I take?

Halloween tends to be a social holiday, and the concern for spreading germs has always been a consideration. Take precautions for the health of those giving and those receiving.

  • Don't open your door to trick-or-treaters if you are unwell. Turn off your light and practice social distancing
  • Stay home if you are not feeling well, and plan for another adult to accompany your kids
  • Unless you're in a high-risk COVID-19 area, you don't need to wear a mask unless it's your preference. Practice common sense safety to keep yourself and others safe
  • Instead of letting kids reach into a candy bowl, use a scoop to pass out treats
  • Consider a candy slide or grab-and-go bags
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before you leave and after you get home

If you're unsure about wandering the neighborhood this year, throw a party at home with your family instead. Decorate, have a movie night, carve pumpkins, decorate cupcakes or hold an at-home scavenger hunt. Any holiday is what you make of it, so whether inside or outside, make it safe and healthy.

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