Do you want to know one of the scariest things about trick-or-treating? It’s this: On average, kids are twice as likely to be hit by a car and seriously injured or killed on Halloween as on any other day of the year, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.
So, if you’re sending a scary ghost, colorful clown or swashbuckling pirate out to collect candy, follow these safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics and other experts.
- Add reflective tape to costumes and bags. Light-colored clothing is also best.
- Have trick-or-treaters carry a flashlight or glow sticks—so they can see where they’re going and drivers can see them. Check batteries in flashlights, and make sure the flashlight is a size your child can easily hold.
- Choose costumes that allow your child to see clearly and are short enough to prevent tripping. Face paint or make-up is best. Masks should fit well and have large eyeholes. Hats and scarves should be tied tight enough so they won’t slip over your child’s eyes.
- Put your child in sturdy shoes. High heels may look cute on your little princess, but they aren’t safe for walking.
- Tell teens and children to walk only on sidewalks or paths, whenever possible. Otherwise, they should always walk facing traffic and as far from the road as possible.
- Encourage your child to trick-or-treat with a group, preferably supervised by a parent or other adult, and have the group stay together—especially when crossing streets.
- Remind your child to look left, right and left again when crossing a street. Teach your child to assume cars cannot see them and to make eye contact with drivers.
- If your kids have cellphones, make sure they know how to call 911. And encourage them to do so if they’re lost or get hurt.
Following these tips will help make sure that drivers can see your trick-or-treater, that your child can see cars and other dangers, and that everyone will arrive home safely to enjoy the treats they’ve collected.