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Halloween Safety Tips for 2020

Halloween Safety Tips for 2020

How to make sure your family celebrates Halloween safely this year


Halloween may be scary, but it doesn't have to be dangerous. Even this year, with restrictions in place due to COVID-19 (social distancing, masks, etc.), it’s important to comply with some tried-and-true safety measures while trick-or-treating. We collected expert Halloween safety tips below to ensure that the only fear your kids encounter is as a result of goblins and ghouls.

Plan your trick-or-treat route, if you're opting to go door-to-door this year.

Walking around your neighborhood and nearby neighborhoods is a fun way to not only help children collect candy; it's also a great way to get in some exercise! You can even prepare before Halloween and start going for walks to determine what the best route is for the big night. There are always ways to squeeze in exercise with kids, especially if you make it fun.

RELATED: Enter the Pumpkin Carving & Design Contest sponsored by Palisades Center!

Kids should travel with adults or in numbers.

Children younger than 12 (even if traveling in a group) should be accompanied by an adult. (Studies have shown that children cannot accurately judge distances of a moving vehicle before this age.) Also, parents accompanying kids should make sure they have a fully charged cellphone and any important numbers handy (especially the numbers of the parents of children they’re trick-or-treating with).

Children older than 12 should travel in groups, and parents should review the route beforehand. Extra care should be taken on streets and at crossings, especially at dusk and after dark. Children should carry a flashlight and wear reflective or bright colored clothing at night. Agree on a time they must return home, and make sure at least one child is wearing a watch that can be seen in the dark. Stress the importance of the group not splitting up. The rule should be: If one child wants to come home, the entire group must bring him home.

Take all precautions around strangers.

Trick-or-treaters should only approach houses that are well lit and familiar. Go over the rules about not accepting rides from strangers or going inside a stranger's home. (Tell your child to wait on the front porch for their treat, even if they are invited into the house.) Parents can place emergency identification information discreetly inside the clothes of small children, in case of accidental separation, but avoid having kids wear their names outwardly on clothing or jewelry, which may allow a stranger to call them by name and appear to know them.

Choose costumes wisely.

Whether your child is dressing up as Black Panther, a witch, or Sonic the Hedgehog, costumes should allow for 100-percent visibility—consider face-paint instead of full-face masks, because it ensures they can see and won’t restrict breathing. (Of course, during COVID-19, masks must be worn over the nose and mouth to prevent the spread of the virus when kids are near others.) Make sure that any face paint or makeup used on skin or costumes is non-toxic, and avoid cosmetic contact lens which have caused visions problems in kids. Costumes should be flame-resistant, and short enough that kids won’t trip or fall. Also, children should wear sturdy, comfortable, slip-resistant shoes. (Bring some Band-aids and antiseptic with you just in case.)



Check the weather forecast.

Before you leave the house, be sure to check the temperature! Is your child's costume appropriate and warm enough? You can always add or remove layers as your kids warm up or become chilly, but it's best to be prepared. Kids worried about extra sleeves clashing with their costumes? Tell them that even Batman wears long underwear sometimes!

Sort candy first, eat later.

It’s best to hold off eating treats until the kids have returned home and parents can go through their candy bags to ensure which candy is acceptable. (Bringing snacks on the trick-or-treating trip helps stave off the temptation.) Any candy that’s unwrapped or looks suspicious should be thrown out. And, of course, if your child has any allergies, be sure to read all the labels. If there are any concerns, or if a child feels sick, parents or guardians can call the NYC Health Department’s Poison Control Center at 212-POISONS (764-7667).

Halloween at Home

Even before your kids venture out for candy, there are safety measures parents should practice at home. For example, don’t allow young children to help carve the jack-o’-lantern. Avoid using candles in your jack-o’-lantern (glow sticks or flashlights work well) and if you do use candles, keep the pumpkin a safe distance away from the path children use. Eliminate tripping hazards on your porch, walkway, and lawn. Be sure to bring all pets in for the night—this is one night of the year they don't need to be out unsupervised.

Finally go with your gut—if something seems amiss, avoid it. And remember: Halloween should be fun! It’s the holiday most kids eagerly anticipate all year, so let them enjoy themselves and get into the spirit—safely of course.

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