Kids look forward to Halloween all year long: the costumes, the trick-or-treating, and, of course, the epic candy haul. But here’s a frightening fact: children are twice as likely to get hit by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Check out these tips to help keep everyone safe this Halloween.

For trick-or-treaters:

  • Make sure a responsible adult accompanies younger children during trick-or-treating.
  • If older kids are trick-or-treating without an adult present, ensure they stay in a group, that a parent helps them discuss and plan their route, and that everyone agrees on a curfew time for their return.
  • If kids are trick-or-treating after dark, provide working flashlights for all kids and escorts.
  • Make sure kids understand the rules of stranger danger: never getting into a car or going anywhere, including inside the home, of somebody they don’t know. Instruct them to only trick-or-treat at homes with a porch light on and to never enter someone’s home or car for a treat.
  • If trick-or-treating at night, use reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags. Glow sticks or glow-in-the-dark costumes are another good option for raising their visibility.
  • Only trick-or-treat on well-lit streets and use the sidewalk if there is one (if none is available, walk at the road’s edge, facing traffic), and remind kids not cut across yards or use alleys.
  • Remind adults AND kids not to look at their cell phones or other electronic devices while walking down the street or crossing the road.
  • Motorists, especially when driving at night, can have trouble spotting trick-or-treaters. Teach kids about proper road crossing etiquette: looking left, right, then left again, crossing as a group in established crosswalks, and never crossing between parked cars or to cut through people’s yards.
  • Costumes and accessories should be fire-resistant. Avoid walking near lit candles, jack-o-lanterns, or luminaries.
  • Masks can obstruct vision. Non-toxic face paints are a great alternative.
  • Oversized costumes can be trip hazards. Wear shoes and costumes that fit properly.
  • Costume props like knives, swords, or staffs should always be made of soft materials, like rubber or foam, so they can bend easily should a child trip and fall while carrying it.
  • Go over how to make a 9-1-1 call with your kids, and talk about what actions they should take in the event of an emergency or if they get lost.
  • Encourage your kids to wait until they get home to start eating treats. Have an adult examine all treats before allowing kids to dig in (though tampering is rare, unwrapped items, homemade goodies, and/or choking hazards like popcorn or hard candy for kids under 4 should be thrown away and not consumed).

For drivers:

  • If you find yourself driving on Halloween night, be vigilant: watch for kids and pedestrians in crosswalks and on the roads, including on medians and curbs.
  • Be extra careful entering and exiting driveways and alleys.
  • Look out for kids who may be in dark clothing.
  • If you’re a new or inexperienced driver (or the parent of one), refrain from driving on Halloween night, if possible.

Stay safe and have a Happy Halloween!

Safe and smart

about Rebecca

Rebecca is a freelance copywriter and editor living in the SF Bay Area with her husband and two kids. She enjoys productively channeling her anxiety into safety-minded articles for home and garden, running with her robot trainer, and advocating on behalf of the Oxford comma.