Halloween Safety Tips

Before Halloween:

  • Glowing jack-o-lanterns, festive decorations, spooky costumes – Halloween offers tons of festive fun, but it does come with hidden fire dangers that can be truly scary.
  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. If your child wants to be dark and spooky, decorate the outside of his costume with strips of reflective tape (which you can find in most hardware stores). Make sure the candy bag your child carries is also bright colored or trimmed in reflective tape.
  • Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, or entanglement. Falls are a major cause of injuries on Halloween, so it's important to make sure your child's costume fits.
  • To prevent your child from tripping on curbs, steps, or the hem itself, keep pants, dresses, and capes above your child ankles.
  • Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire or on a bracelet.
  • Because a mask can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic and hypoallergenic makeup or a decorative hat as a safe alternative.
  • TRY IT OUT. A couple of days before Halloween, do a patch test on a small section of your child's arm to make sure that she's not allergic to the product. If he/she breaks out in a rash or her skin swells up, call your pediatrician immediately.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories, purchase only those with a label indicating they are flame resistant.
  • Think twice before using simulated knives, guns or swords. If such props must be used, be certain they do not appear authentic and are soft and flexible to prevent injury.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • Plan ahead to use only battery powered lanterns or chemical light sticks in place of candles in decorations and costumes.
  • This is also a great time to buy fresh batteries for your home Smoke Alarms.
  • Teach children their home phone number and to how call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost. Remind them that 9-1-1 can be dialed free from any phone.
  • If you're buying a costume, make sure it's labeled "flame resistant". Review with your children the principle of "Stop-Drop-Roll", should their clothes catch on fire.
  • Openly discuss appropriate and inappropriate behavior at Halloween time.
  • Consider purchasing individually packaged healthy food alternatives (or safe non-food treats) for those who visit your home.
  • Take extra effort to eliminate tripping hazards on your porch and walkway. Check around your property for flower pots, low tree limbs, support wires or garden hoses that may prove hazardous to young children rushing from house to house.
  • Learn or review CPR skills to aid someone who is choking or having a heart attack.
  • Consider safe party guidelines when hosting an Adult or Office Party.

Fun Alternatives:

  • Find a special event or start one in your own neighborhood.
  • Community Centers, Shopping Malls and Houses of Worship may have organized festivities.
  • Share the fun by arranging a visit to a Retirement Home or Senior Center.
  • Create an alliance with College Fraternities, Sororities or Service Clubs for children's face painting or a carnival.

Before Nightfall on Halloween:

  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Consider fire safety when decorating. Do not overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or special effects, and do not block exit doors.
  • While children can help with the fun of designing a Jack O' Lantern, leave the carving to adults.
  • Always keep Jack O' Lanterns and hot electric lamps far away from drapes, decorations, flammable materials or areas where children and pets will be standing or walking.
  • Plan and review with your children the route and behavior which is acceptable to you.
  • Do not permit children to bicycle, roller-blade, or skateboard.
  • Agree on a specific time when revelers must return home.
  • Along with flashlights for all, older children, and escorts should wear a wristwatch and carry coins for non-emergency phone calls.
  • Confine, segregate or otherwise prepare household pets for an evening of frightful sights and sounds. Be sure that all dogs and cats are wearing collars and proper identification tags. Consult your veterinarian for further advice.
  • Remind all household drivers to remain cautious and drive slowly throughout the community.
  • Adult partygoers should establish and reward a designated driver.

When Trick-or-Treating:

A Parent or responsible Adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.

Remind Trick-or-Treaters:

  • Your child should be able to wear warmer clothes underneath the costume if it's cold out, bu the outfit shouldn't be so loose that it catches on doorknobs, etc. Don't let your child wear wear shoes or hats that are too big.
  • Candle decorations and costumes with billowing or long trailing fabric are a fire risk.
  • By using a flashlight, they can see and be seen by others.
  • Stay in a group, walk slowly and communicate where you are going.
  • Only trick-or-treat in well known neighborhoods at homes that have a porch light on.
  • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the farthest edge of the roadway facing traffic.
  • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
  • Never enter a stranger's home or car for a treat.
  • Obey all traffic and pedestrian regulations.
  • Always walk. Never run across a street.
  • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom).
  • Remove any mask or item that will limit eyesight before crossing a street, driveway or alley.
  • Don't assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will.
  • Never consume unwrapped food items or open beverages that may be offered.
  • No treats are to be eaten until they are thoroughly checked by an Adult at home.
  • Law Enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

Pumpkin Do's and Don'ts

  • Before you get out the carving knife, make sure you follow these Jack-O-Lantern safety tips:
  • DO dispose of pumpkin seeds and pulp after you scoop them out. They are a potential choking hazards.
  • DON'T let children handle knives. Instead, let them draw the pumpkin's face with a marker.
  • DO pick out a flat, sturdy, well-lit surface for carving, and keep an eye on any OLDER children as they carve their pumpkins - you may want to buy a pair of special pumpkin cutters that have safety bars to prevent accidents.
  • DON'T let you child light the candle or place it in the pumpkin.
  • DO move Jack-O-Lantern's away from curtains, drapes, and other flammable materials.
  • DON'T leave a lit pumpkin unattended or let your child play near it.

We wish you a Safe and Happy Halloween.

This information is brought to you courtesy of the Chatham Fire Protection District and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). You are welcome you to print these tips or link directly to this website.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at no cost atwww.nfpa.org/freeaccess.