Trick-or-treat with care: Halloween safety tips to remember

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Remember these important tips for a fun and safe trick-or-treat night. (Recorder File Photo)
Remember these important tips for a fun and safe trick-or-treat night. (Recorder File Photo)

With all the excitement surrounding the upcoming spooky holiday fun, it is important to remember things can and will go bump in the night.

Trick-or-treat night is scheduled for Oct. 31 from 6-8 p.m., and with it brings inevitable excitement surrounding dressing up for parties and trick-or-treating, haunted house visits and ghost stories around a fire. However, the Recorder has put together a list of things parents should keep in mind before the sun sets on Oct. 31.

Drivers and pedestrians

Pedestrian safety is one of the most important things to consider on Halloween, Aleatha Henderson, captain and director of public education for the Indianapolis Fire Department, told the Recorder.

Since trick-or-treating typically begins after dark, kids and adults in costumes might not be immediately visible to motorists. Drivers should enter and exit driveways, alleyways and parking lots slowly and carefully and pay attention to people walking on crosswalks, driveways, parking lots and sidewalks.

Pedestrians should always use traffic signals and crosswalks, look left, right, then left again and make eye contact with drivers before crossing streets.

Jack-o’-lantern carving

While an annual tradition for many, it is important to keep an eye on children while carving jack-o’-lanterns and never leave sharp objects unattended where children or pets can get to them.

Candles are the leading cause of reported home fires, which Henderson said add up to about 800 fires each year. Candles should never be left unattended, and open flames should be kept away from dry decorations, such as pumpkins, hay bales and scarecrows, both inside and outside due to their high flammability.

Henderson suggests parents instead use an LED or battery-powered candle in jack-o’-lanterns.

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Porches, walkways and decorations

Potential hazards, such as flowerpots, branches, candles, garden hoses, wired lighting and breakable or sharp decorations, should be removed from walkways, front porches or yards to prevent trick-or-treaters from falling and hurting themselves.

Areas where candy is being passed out, including porches, garages and driveways, should be well lit, according to Officer Welter Solares from Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Even on Halloween, it is important to check a doorbell camera or look through the window before answering the door.

Costumes and visibility

Properly fitting costumes is key to ensuring a child is both comfortable and safe during Halloween. The Indiana State Police warns oversized costumes, shoes, wigs, hats or masks can obstruct a child’s vision or cause them to trip and fall walking upstairs or on sidewalks and crosswalks.

Children should be able to walk, talk, breathe, hear and see comfortably in their costumes. If trick-or-treating after dark, avoid dark clothing or costumes and stay on well-lit streets. If possible, place reflective tape on costumes or candy bags or have children carry flashlights or glow sticks to increase visibility, Solares said.

Face paint and makeup should be nontoxic and removed immediately at the end of the night to prevent irritation or allergic reactions, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Trick-or-treating

Young children should always be accompanied by a parent or trusted adult, whether at Halloween parties, festivals or while trick-or-treating. Children should be reminded not to enter a stranger’s homes or vehicle while trick-or-treating, according to Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

ISP recommends older kids and teens walk in organized groups or use the buddy system. All trick-or-treaters should stay in well-lit areas and avoid alleys. Anything suspicious should be reported to local law enforcement.

Always be aware of surroundings and be able to describe where you are in case of an emergency, Henderson said. This means knowing street names and looking for house numbers.

Candy and treats

Choking hazards are an increased issue during Halloween, and ISP, IFD and IMDP all recommend having children wait until they get home for a parent to check candy and treats before allowing them to binge eat their weight in sugar. This not only ensures children do not eat anything unsafe or that they are allergic to, but also decreases the chance of choking.

Anything that appears to be unwrapped, rewrapped or homemade should be thrown away. Anyone with food allergies should read every label, avoid candies or treats without labels and carry an epinephrine auto-injector (if prescribed).

Parents can also learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project, a nonfood Halloween treat initiative started by Food Allergy Research and Education, at foodallergy.org. The CDC also recommends ensuring medications, vitamins and cough drops are stored properly, as curious children might mistake them for candy this time of year.

Pet safety

Trick-or-treat night is bound to create a lot of commotion. Ensure excitable pets are restrained and kept away from doors to reduce the chance of them getting out.

Pets joining in on trick-or-treating should be on a leash or harness and wear collars with readable ID tags or be chipped in case they run off or get loose.

For more information about trick-or-treat times and locations to get candy from IMPD and IFD, visit in.gov.

Contact staff writer Chloe McGowan at 317-762-7848 or chloegm@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @chloe_mcgowanxx.