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Kids trick-or-treating

Make safety a priority for Trick-or-Treaters

Halloween can be an exciting night for kids and adults alike. From candy to costumes, decorations to driving, are some tips from Johnson County K-State Research and Extension and the Department of Health and Environment to keep everyone safe, regardless of whether you have little ghosts and goblins at home:

Candy

  • Eat supper before trick-or-treating. Eating a small meal or sandwich can curb hunger and make children less likely to sample goodies before they have had time to let their parents check them over.
  • Give away a treat that isn't candy. Raisins, sunflower seeds, or even small toys are great options.
  • Sort candy and discard any that appears to have been opened or tampered with.
  • Enjoy the holiday sweets, but encourage common sense. Store candy out of sight and allow children to choose it as a dessert or an occasional snack.

Costumes

  • Choose flame-retardant costume fabrics and accessories, including wigs and masks. Also stay away from long, trailing fabric.
  • Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
  • Minimize accessories – too many extras can be distracting. And, when choosing accessories, think safety first. Substitute a soft fabric sword for a heavier wooden one with a sharp tip.
  • When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
  • Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers. If possible, choose light colors.
  • Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.

Decorations

  • Use non-flammable decorations when possible.
  • Keep flammable materials such as hay bales, corn stocks, dried flowers, paper decorations, etc. away from heat sources including light bulbs and heaters.
  • Keep exits clear of decorations and props so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Use battery-operated candles in jack-o-lanterns and when decorating pathways and yards. 

Driving

  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
  • Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
  • Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
  • Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
  • Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.

Trick or Treating

  • Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision.
  • Stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups. Say no to an invitation to go into a house or apartment, especially from someone you don't know.
  • If older children are trick-or-treating as a pair or small group, make sure they are carrying identification. Pin their name and telephone number in their pocket or another convenient but inconspicuous place.
  • Give children a deadline, either a time to check in or be home.
  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
  • Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
  • Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to
the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.