By AJ Danboise
Halloween is right around the corner, and before you know it kids in costumes will be taking over the neighborhood hoping to cause a fright.
But Halloween isn’t just psychologically scary; it’s physically threatening as well. While the spirit world may be out of our control, luckily, we can prevent truly horrifying physical events from occurring with a little preparation.
Why Is Halloween Scary?
Halloween is a dangerous time for many reasons. From home fires to motor accidents, Halloween can cause serious injury and even death. And it won’t be coming from a killer clown or a vengeful ghost.
Here are some scary Halloween safety statistics that might scare you into action:
- Halloween is the 3rd deadliest day of the year for pedestrians (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data).
- Halloween is the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrians. Most fatalities occurred with children ages 12-15, followed by children ages 5-8 (Sperling’s BestPlaces data).
- From 2009-2013, Halloween-related fires caused an average of one death, 41 injuries, and $13 million in property damage every year (National Fire Protection Association).
- 41% of Halloween fires were started by candles (NFPA).
While evil dolls, poltergeists, and specters can scare the bejesus out of you, the real danger comes from electrical, fire, and falling/tripping hazards.
Keeping Your Kids Safe (and Spooked) This Halloween
The scariest stories are the true ones. Go over the frightening consequences of ignoring or disobeying the following Halloween safety tips:
- Make sure your costumes are flame resistant.
- Avoid bulky, flowing garments.
- If you wear a mask, make sure it is easy to see and breath out of.
- Add reflective tape to your bags and costumes. Consider glow sticks.
- Test Halloween makeup on a small patch of skin in advance. Use non-toxic, non-comedogenic, FDA-approved makeup.
- Only use colored contact lenses if they are prescribed by your optician.
- Establish a curfew (hazards increase at night).
- Make sure all children under 12 are accompanied by an adult.
- Travel in groups.
- Make sure somebody in the trick-or-treating group has a cell phone and a flashlight (if possible, make sure your child has one).
- You can use Find My Phone/Find My Family apps to track the location of the device.
- Go over pedestrian rules (“walk, don’t run,” “look both ways,” “obey all traffic signals,” etc.).
- Don’t eat any candy until you go home and have them inspected by an adult.
- Don’t go trick-or-treating on an empty stomach.
- Do not accept any unwrapped candy (throw away all suspicious candy).
- Never follow strangers into a home, apartment, car, or anywhere for that matter.
- Never get into a car where the driver has been drinking.
- Don’t drink and drive!
- Stay away from all open flames.
Halloween Safety for Parents
- Learn and practice Halloween food safety tips from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
- Stay extra alert and vigilant when driving on or near Halloween.
- Drive slower than normal and practice safe driving tips.
- Get rid of all hazards around your home, especially your front porch and lawn.
- Do NOT use real candles or torches. Use battery-operated lights instead.
- If you do use candles, make sure they are accompanied by adult supervision at all times.
- Do NOT use flammable decorations.
- Teach children to stay away from open flames and other fire safety (“stop, drop, and roll,” etc.).
- Don’t drink and drive!
Halloween Fire and Electrical Safety
Don’t be shocked this Halloween! Since holidays like Halloween and Christmas rely on lights and machines that run on electricity, it’s important to take the following electrical safety precautions to protect your home, family, and guests:
- Schedule a professional electrical safety inspection at least once a year, preferably in the fall before the holiday season.
- Test your AFCI (arc fault circuit interrupters) and GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupters) every 30 days.
- Follow all extension cord safety and manufacturer instructions.
- Always inspect cords, plugs, and electrical devices before use. Repair reo replace damaged items.
- Make sure your extension cords, lights, and other electrical devices are tested by an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
- If you notice any flickering, humming, or burning smells coming from any of your plugs, switches, or devices, turn power off to the circuit and contact a qualified electrician.
- Don’t use flammable decorations.
- Keep all decorations away from all open flames, heating, and light equipment. Learn portable heater safety tips.