Halloween safety lists began to emerge in the 1960's after rumors of candy laced with drugs gained national attention. By the 1970's, the press was reporting more and more Halloween incidents, such as older children attacking younger children to steal their candy, or children finding razor blades or broken pieces of glass in their treats. Although studies, reports, and investigations have attributed all incidents of Halloween sadism to pranks or diversions for other unrelated crimes, trick-or-treating safety tips continue to surface every season. For the most part, these holiday pointers offer common sense advice to prevent careless accidents. The safety reminders below are derived from the National Crime Prevention Council, McGruff the Crime Dog, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Pt1: Safe Trick-or-Treating
Make sure young children are accompanied by an adult or responsible teenager when they go door-to-door.
If you can't accompany your children, instruct them to trick-or-treat in their own neighborhood and in well-lighted streets.
If children are going to be out after dark, make sure they carry a flashlight.
Teach your children to use the sidewalks if they can. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the street facing cars.
Know which friends your children will be with and which route they are taking.
Leave your porch light on so children will know it's OK to visit your home.
Instruct children never to eat anything until they are home and the treats have been carefully examined. Cut and wash fruit before eating. Throw away anything unwrapped. Check the wrappers of commercial treats for evidence of tampering.
Call the police if there are any suspicious treats.
Pt2: Costume Safety
Look for 'Flame Resistant' labels on all costumes.
Avoid costumes with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts.
Choose costumes that are light and bright enough to be visible to motorists.
Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping.
Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. High heels are not a good idea.
Hats and scarfs should be tied securely to prevent them from slipping over children's eyes.
A natural mask of cosmetics is better than a loose-fitting mask that might restrict breathing or obscure vision.
Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be of soft and flexible material.
Decorate costumes and treat bags with reflective tape.