Oct 25, 2010

Halloween Safety Tips for Kids and Parents

If there's one thing that's less exciting to get on Halloween than pennies and raisins, it's tips on keeping things safe. But October 31 is right around the corner, and for kids there's the good kind of scared (ghoulish costumes and haunted houses) while parents and homeowners get the bad kind -- the dangers posed by certain costumes, questionable candy, dark streets, and unsafe property.

So at the risk of donning a Debbie Downer costume this year, here's an old pillowcase full of safety tips for trick-or-treaters, parents and caregivers, and homeowners who are getting ready for Halloween.

Costumes: Make sure costumes and accessories are flame-resistant. Avoid really baggy costumes that can pose a tripping hazard. For greater visibility -- especially since it gets darker earlier this time of year -- use flashlights and apply reflective tape to darker costumes.

Candy and Treats: Parents and caregivers should always inspect their young trick-or-treaters' haul of candy for evidence of tampering or anything that looks suspicious. One good rule of thumb is to avoid any treats that don't appear to be factory-wrapped.

For Homeowners: Keep all walkways, stairs, lawns, and driveways well-lit and free of obstacles. Also, make sure any candle-lit jack-o-lanterns and all other open flames are attended at all times and out of reach of young kids. Otherwise you could be starring in your own personal horror film: The Attack of the Premises Liability Lawsuit.

For Pedestrians and Drivers: Trick-or-treaters and other pedestrians should stay on sidewalks and other designated walkways at all times, and only go up to homes that are well-lit or show other signs that trick-or-treaters are welcome. Drivers should use extra caution and drive slowly in any neighborhood where kids might be out trick-or-treating, and be especially vigilant for pedestrians crossing the street outside of the usual crossing areas.

Get more Halloween safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Related information from Nolo: