What kid doesn’t love dressing as their favorite character, collecting loads of free candy and staying up late? Halloween, the “kid holiday” provides all of these special delights.

Halloween can quickly turn tragic, though, if caution is not taken. Because of the vast numbers of excited kids on sidewalks and streets, a child’s risk of getting killed by a car doubles, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. All of that candy, the wrong costume and increased fire hazards also pose risks. To help keep your family safe, put these tips to work this Halloween.


The costume is the first step in keeping Halloween both safe and fun for your family. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests you:

Select short and close-fitting costumes to prevent tripping, but choose ones large enough to allow your child to wear warm clothing underneath. Also, dress them in comfortable shoes (not costume shoes) that they can walk in without tripping.

Make sure your kids are visible to drivers by choosing bright-colored costumes and adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags. Also, have kids carry a flashlight or wear a headlamp to light their way.

Look for a “flame resistant” label on costumes. Although these do burn if exposed to flames, they’re made to provide enough time for a child to stop, drop and roll before a severe injury occurs.

Skip masks, which can limit eyesight; use non-toxic makeup or decorative hats instead. Just be sure to test makeup on a small patch of your child’s skin ahead of time to help ensure it won’t react to the makeup.

If the costume uses an accessory, like a sword, cane or stick, go with one that’s neither long nor sharp to reduce the chances that someone will get cut or trip.

Avoid decorative contact lenses – the kind sold by non-optometrists – as these can cause eye pain, inflammation and infections, potentially leading to permanent vision loss.

Yard and House

Holiday decorations, like paper ghosts and dried cornstalks, cause an average of 860 home fires every year, reports the National Fire Protection Association. So keep decorations away from heaters, candles or fireplaces. Use electric candles, not real ones, in jack-o-lanterns. In fact, with so much going on - from excited kids, over-stimulated pets and numerous distractions - consider foregoing candles on Halloween altogether.

Prepare the path to your house. Ensure the path is well lit, and clean up anything around the yard, sidewalk and front door stairs that could cause someone to trip.


With so many excited kids out and about, more children die in pedestrian fatalities on Halloween than any other day of the year, reports Safe Kids Worldwide. In addition to making kids more visible with costume choice and reflective tape, Safe Kids also urges you to use crosswalks, stay on sidewalks and hold hands with kids 12 and under to cross streets.


Overindulging in candy can cause upset stomachs, overexcited nerves, cavities and pack on the pounds, so dole out the candy over time, limiting the amount both kids and adults eat. The FDA offers these additional tips: Even though candy tampering is rare, have kids wait to eat candy – or any treat that they receive - until you’ve inspected it at home. Discard anything without an intact wrapper and also check labels/items for signs of spoilage. Homemade treats should be tossed unless they came from someone you know. Check labels carefully if your kids have food allergies. Remove gum, peanuts, hard candies and small toys that may pose a choking risk from young childrens’ Halloween bags.

Other Tips

Plan to accompany all kids 12 and under on their trick-or-treat adventures, advises the Mayo Clinic. In case you get separated from them, leave a note with your children’s names, address and your cellphone number inside their pockets.

Require teens to go with a group of friends, parents or older siblings. For these teens, plan and discuss a familiar route and set a curfew.

Halloween remains one of kids’ favorite holidays with its old-fashioned fun and chance to dress up in groovy costumes. Utilizing the tips above can help keep the holiday safe, too. Happy Halloween!

Get more Halloween safety tips for your kiddos and pets in our Halloween guide.