Scary Good, Not Scary Bad: Halloween Safety Tips for Kids

Our kids aren’t trick-or-treating in the same world we grew up in. At all. Killer clowns that used to be fiction on TV are now fact in our newsfeeds. Amber alerts blow up our phones. We hear about shooting after shooting. The world’s more dangerous, or at least it seems that way. Maybe we’re just more exposed to all the bad news in our always-on digital world. Regardless, the danger feels way, way, WAY too real. We worry about our kids. Do you need to walk all the way to the door with them? Why is the street so dark? They caught that clown, right? Is it even a good idea to let them go trick-or-treating?!

Yes, yes it is (and yes, they caught the clown too). Dressing up and going trick-or-treating and gorging yourself on candy are what being a kid is all about! But how exactly do you give your kid the sweetest Halloween memories while also keeping them out of harm’s way? Just know your stuff and plan accordingly. We’ve collected safety tips from the experts to help you do just that.

Dress for Success

Cute as that lion mask or elephant trunk is, it’s not a good idea if it impairs vision. The last thing you need is your son tumbling down someone’s front stoop, or your daughter not being able to fully look both ways before crossing the street. Broken bones are fun on skeletons, but not so much your own children. What is a good idea is adding reflective stickers to costumes. The American Academy of Pedriatics has even more Halloween costume tips.

Carve Pumpkins … or Don’t

Pumpkin carving tools might be small, but they’re still sharp. Keep a close eye on the kids while they carve or skip the knife-wielding altogether (unless you really want to clean up all those pumpkin guts). Use felt to make woodland creature pumpkins, or cut bats from contact paper and stick ‘em on. If that doesn’t haunt your house, try one of these 25 no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas.

Treat with Care

You’re not getting out of this one. Yes, you need to inspect the Halloween candy the kids bring home before you let them eat it. Pitch anything that’s not commercially sealed or has a torn wrapper, unless you’re 100% sure your BFF down the street made it. Don’t stop at candy either. Be careful where they bob for apples, too. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more Halloween food safety tips for parents.

Better Together

If they’re under the age of 12, you need to pick out a costume too, because Safe Kids Worldwide recommends you go trick-or-treating with them. If they’re 10 going on 20, you can give them some independence by waiting on the sidewalk while they walk up to the door, or even driving them the longer distances, so you don’t have to walk down dark, empty stretches of street.

Home Sweet Home

Don’t forget to make sure your home’s safe for trick-or-treaters too (and ask your neighbors to do the same). Move whatever stands in the way of a kid and your front door, such as branches, hoses and decorations, so no one trips. Keep things well-lit, using LED lights instead of candles for decorations. Put pets away inside. Basically, kid-proof your front porch, stoop or door.

Halloween should be scary … scary fun. Not scary bad. With a little precaution, you can help your kids have the sweetest Halloween ever. If only getting them to pick a costume were this easy.

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