Halloween Safety Tips from Dr. JJ Levenstein

(with a little help from AAP)


  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement, or contact with flame. Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives to masks. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. Patch test makeup prior to the big night to make sure there are no skin reactions.
  • When shopping for costumes and accessories, make sure they are flame-retardant.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child's costume, make sure it is blunt or made of soft material.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts. If button batteries illuminate costumes, cover the hatch with duct tape and remove batteries after Halloween.

Your Home:

  • You should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes, and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
  • On the Road:
  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds. Stay in a group and take roll frequently.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home and check in by phone.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Remind everyone of pedestrian rules.
  • Carry a cell phone for quick communication.
  • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
  • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom).
  • Teach children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.

Keep it Healthier:

  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from pigging out on Halloween treats.
  • Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books, stickers, pens, and pencils. Target, this year, has many non-food treats/small toys for Halloween.
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped, or suspicious items. Examine non-food treats and make sure they are age-appropriate for your child.
  • Ration treats for the days following Halloween.
  • If you are cleaning your child's hands while trick-or-treating, use wipes rather than hand sanitizer. Sanitizers are flammable and if kids have their hands in their mouths frequently, they ingest all that alcohol!
  • Offer to trade in treats for a coveted book or non-food item for your child or adolescent. Donate the sweets or discard.

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Take parenting classes instructed by Dr. Levenstein online by visiting To learn more about parents' concerns with kids go to her Facebook page at Also, find helpful parenting products at the website Dr. Levenstein co-founded and serves as president of,

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