Cars and pumpkin carving can be Halloween dangers, but don’t overlook the costume

Ways to keep your kid out of the emergency room this Halloween

The most talked-about danger for trick-or-treaters is getting hit by a car. But many injuries on Halloween night involve falls.

The culprit: costumes.

“Each year thousands of kids spend Halloween night in emergency rooms — and many times it’s because of an issue with their costumes,” said Erika Janes, R.N., child safety advocate for Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness.

As you and your child get ready for the holiday, here are the most important safety tips to remember:

  • Choose light-colored costumes, which are more easily seen at night. Even better — add reflective or glow-in-the-dark tape to the front and back of the costume and trick-or-treat bag.
  • Buy only costumes labeled “flame-retardant” (meaning the material won’t burn). If you’re making a costume yourself, use flame-retardant nylon or polyester fabrics.
  • Make sure wigs and beards don’t cover children’s eyes, noses or mouths.
  • Avoid masks, which can limit vision and make breathing difficult. Instead, use nontoxic face paint or makeup. First test the face paint or makeup on your child’s arm or hand to make sure it doesn’t irritate the skin.
  • Attach a tag with your name and phone number on your children’s costumes.
  • Avoid oversized or high-heeled shoes that can cause kids to trip and fall. Also make sure the rest of the costume fits well and doesn’t drag on the ground.
  • Make sure that any props your kids carry, such as wands or swords, are short and flexible.
Pumpkin carving
  • Don’t let little ones use knives. Let them draw their designs on the pumpkin, and then an adult can do the carving.
  • Layer newspaper or old cloths under your carving workspace and clean up spills immediately so no one slips. Pumpkin flesh is slippery and can cause falls and injuries when dropped on the floor.
  • Keep kids at a safe distance while you’re carving the pumpkin.
  • If your children want to remove the pumpkin pulp and seeds, have them use their hands, a large spoon or an ice cream scoop — never a knife.
  • Skip using candles in your jack-o’-lantern, which may cause a fire or light a passing costume on fire. Instead, use a glow stick or flameless (battery-operated) candle to safely illuminate your jack-o’-lantern.
Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness

Find resources and information from our trusted specialists to keep your family safe and to prevent injuries.

  • Accompany children under age 12. Make sure they know their address, home phone number and how to call 911 if they get lost.
  • Limit trick-or-treating to your neighborhood and the homes of people you and your children know. Tell kids to never go into strangers’ homes or cars.
  • Older kids who want to trick-or-treat on their own should do so in a group. Find out the route they’ll be taking and when they plan to come home. Remind them to stay together, go only to houses with porch lights on and walk on sidewalks on lighted streets — never in alleys or across lawns.
  • Remind children to cross the street only at crosswalks and to always walk facing traffic if they can’t avoid walking on a road with no sidewalks.
  • Give kids flashlights with new batteries. Tell them to stay away from candles and other flames.
The treats
  • Sort through all candy after trick-or-treating and discard items that are open or not age-appropriate.
  • Have your child eat a full, healthy meal prior to going trick-or-treating to reduce snacking and curb hunger once the candy starts accumulating.
  • Discuss your plan for the candy before Halloween. Set a limited number of pieces kids can have each night after eating a healthy meal.
  • Make sure kids brush their teeth before bedtime so the sugar doesn’t stay on their teeth.