It’s Halloween night. Your kids are dressed up, excited and raring to go. But how do you keep these enthusiastic trick-or-treaters safe?

“For smaller children, make sure they are always accompanied by an adult,” says MSgt. Gary Knight of the Oklahoma City Police Department’s office of media relations. “For older children, if they don’t want an adult with them, make sure you know where they will be, and ensure they are with a group. There are plenty of phone apps to help you monitor your kid’s location.”

For those parents who worry about Halloween treats being tampered with, Knight can calm some of those fears.

“I’ve been a police officer in OKC for 33 years,” he says. “In that time, I’ve never known of a case here of poison or razor blades being placed in candy. It is exceedingly rare, even on a national scale.”

The Biggest Safety Issues

So if tampered-with candy isn’t the biggest issue for kids on Halloween, what is? 

“By far, the greatest threat to kids on Halloween is automobiles,” says Knight. “Make sure the children wear something reflective, if possible. Instruct them to be extra careful when crossing the street. It can be difficult for drivers to see small children who dart out into the street from between parked cars.”

The National Safety Council’s website gives more tips on having a less frightful experience on this spooky night.

Most important for children to remember: do not go into a stranger’s home or get into a stranger’s car.

For older kids who don’t want to hang out with parents, plan a trick-or-treating route beforehand and be sure the entire evening’s route is one you have approved and are familiar with. 

While complex costumes can appear to be more fun, simple can be safer. Select an outfit that is not going to cause “trip-and-fall” hazards because of a heavy, sight-obscuring mask or draped layers of material. The National Safety Council suggests opting for face makeup instead of a mask. Be sure to select makeup that is non-toxic.

When choosing costumes and wigs, ensure the tags specifically state the items are fire resistant. 

Use candles with batteries for lighting pumpkins.

Have a new driver in the family? Encourage them to be a passenger when going out on Halloween. Seasoned drivers should be on the lookout for children who:

• Forget typical safety rules and are walking in the middle of roads or are crossing through medians and on curbs;

• Enter and exit driveways without being aware of the surrounding vehicles; and

• Wear dark or hard-to-see clothing and costumes.

“We ask that drivers be extra vigilant in neighborhoods on Halloween, as there will most certainly be a lot more kids than usual on foot,” says Knight.

Be safe. Be spooky. Have fun!

Fun and Quirky Candy Alternatives

Want to opt out of giving candy, but don’t want to be the boring one on the block? Try:

• Granola bars

• Juice boxes

• Mini water bottles (in addition to another item on this list, of course)

• Trail mix packets

• Small bags of pretzels

• Bubble soap

• Temporary tattoos

• Stamping sets

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