Goblins, ghouls, and ghosts… oh my! Both store-bought and homemade Halloween costumes can be wickedly fun – and also unsafe. Long costumes, a lack of fire-retardant material, masks that obscure vision and sharp accessories pose a safety hazard for young trick-or-treaters on the go. This Halloween, whether you buy your children’s costumes at the store or make them at home, be sure to put safety first.
Follow these six Halloween safety rules when outfitting your trick-or-treaters.
Falls related to costumes are a frequent cause of Halloween injuries, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports. In the excitement of ringing doorbells and collecting candy, it’s all too easy to trip on a long costume or slip on a rocky path. Be sure that long costumes and capes stop several inches from the ground when your child is standing. When in doubt, hem up costumes by an extra inch or two.
A glow stick, a flashlight or reflective tape can help children be more visible to oncoming traffic. For extra visibility, add a strip of reflective tape to your children’s trick-or-treat bags and costumes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest. If your children use a flashlight, put in fresh batteries at the beginning of the night.
The bottom of a long costume can easily catch fire when swept over a Jack O’ Lantern candle. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, since 1980, at least 16 trick-or-treaters have sustained burns while wearing their Halloween costumes. All costumes, capes, wigs, beards and accessories should be fire-resistant, the CPSC says. Costumes with spray-on glitter have a risk for flammability because of the glue it contains, according to Good Housekeeping.
Masks can limit eyesight, so opt for fun hats, wigs or non-toxic face paint to complete your child’s costume. To prevent potential skin or eye irritation, remove all face paint before children go to sleep. High heels can also be dangerous; your princess will look just as regal in some pretty ballet flats, and she’ll be much safer walking between houses.
Does your pirate need a sword to complete his costume? Is your witch missing her magic wand? Make-believe accessories, like knives, swords and wands, should be constructed from soft plastic or foam with no sharp tips, the CPSC says. Otherwise, a child could easily trip and hurt himself–or another trick-or-treater–with his own sword.
If you won’t be accompanying your kids while they trick-or-treat this year, remind them to walk, not run, between houses. Avoid neighborhood shortcuts and stay on well-lit sidewalks. This is especially important for children wearing dark costumes, like witches or goblins. Even with reflective tape, it can be difficult for drivers to see kids darting between cars or crossing streets mid-block until it’s too late.
What will your child be dressed up as this Halloween?