1. Choose a light-colored costume or add glow-in-the-dark tape to the front and back of the costume so your kids can be easily seen.
2. Don’t buy a costume unless it’s labeled “flame-retardant.” This means the material won’t burn.
3. Make sure wigs and beards don’t cover your kids’ eyes, noses, or mouths.
4. Don’t let your children wear masks – they can make it difficult for kids to see and breathe. Instead, use nontoxic face paint or makeup. Have younger children draw pictures of what they want to look like. Older kids will have fun putting the makeup on themselves.
5. Avoid oversized and high-heeled shoes that could cause kids to trip.
6. Avoid long or baggy skirts, pants, or shirtsleeves that could catch on something and cause falls.
7. Make sure that any props your kids carry, such as wands or swords, are flexible.
8. Accompany young children (under age 10) on their rounds. But make sure they know their home phone number, the cell phone numbers of parents and any other trusted adult who’s supervising, and how to call 911 in case they get lost.
9. For older kids who are trick-or-treating on their own, make sure you approve of the route they’ll be taking and know when they’ll be coming home. Also be sure that they: carry a cell phone, if possible go in a group and stay together, only go to houses with porch lights on, walk on sidewalks on lit streets (never walk through alleys or across lawns), never go into strangers’ homes or cars, cross the street at crosswalks and never assume that vehicles will stop.
10. Give kids flashlights with new batteries.
11. Limit trick-or-treating to your neighborhood and the homes of people you and your children know.
12. When your kids get home, check all treats to make sure they’re safely sealed and there are no signs of tampering, such as small pinholes, loose or torn packages, and packages that appear to have been taped or glued back together. Throw out loose candy, spoiled items, and any homemade treats that haven’t been made by someone you know.
13. Don’t allow young children to have hard candy or gum that could cause choking.
14. Make sure trick-or-treaters will be safe when visiting your home, too. Remove lawn decorations, sprinklers, toys, bicycles, wet leaves, or anything that might obstruct your walkway. Provide a well-lit outside entrance to your home. Keep family pets away from trick-or-treaters, even if they seem harmless to you.