Halloween Safety Tips From the National Security Council

Halloween is a cherished tradition but the excitement of the night can cause children to forget to be careful.  There is no real "trick" to making Halloween a real "treat" for the entire family.  The major dangers are not from witches or spirits but rather from falls and pedestrian/car crashes.  The Police Chief has designated the hours for trick-or-treating from 4:00 - 7:00pm.

Both children and adults need to think about safety on this annual day of make-believe.

Motorists -The National Safety Council urges motorists to be especially alert on Halloween:

  • Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.
  • Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.
  • At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.

Parents - Before children start out on their "trick-or-treat" rounds, parents should:

  • Give children any early meal before going out.
  • Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for children under age 12
  • Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow.  Know the names of older children's companions.
  • Instruct your children to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route.
  • Teach your children to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lit and to never enter a stranger's home.
  • Establish a return time.
  • Tell youngsters not to eat any treat until they return home and it can be inspected.  If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian/traffic safety rules.
  • Pin a slip of paper with the child's name, address and phone number inside a pocket in case the youngster gets separated from the group.

Costume Design

  • Only fire-retardant materials should be used for costumes.
  • Costumes should not be so long that they are a tripping hazard. (Falls are the leading case of unintentional injuries on Halloween.)
  • If children are allowed out after dark, outfits should be made with light colored material.  Strips of retro-reflective tape should be used to make children visible.

Face Design

  • Masks can obstruct a child's vision.  Use facial make-up instead.
  • When buying special halloween makeup, check for packages containing ingredients that are labeled "Made with U.S. Approved Color Additives," "Laboratory Tested," "Meets Federal Standards for Cosmetics," or "Non-Toxic."  Follow manufacturer's instructions for application.
  • *If masks are worn, they should have nose and mouth openings and large eye holes.

Accessories

  • Knives, swords and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials.  Do not allow children to carry sharp objects.
  • Bags or sacks carried by youngsters should be light-colored or trimmed with retro-reflective tape if children are allowed out after dark.
  • Carrying flashlights will help children see better and be seen more clearly.

On the way - Children should understand and follow these rules:

  • Do not enter homes or apartments without adult supervision.
  • Walk, do not run, from house to house.  Do not cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards.
  • Walk on sidewalks, not in the street.
  • Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic if there are no sidewalks.

For these and additional safety tips visit www.nsc.org