Your Guide to a Happy Halloween in Johnson County

Three trick-or-treating children in costumes walk down a street

We’re in the midst of spooky season, and Halloween is not far behind. With the season comes carving pumpkins, picking out your costume, and – on Halloween night – the time-honored tradition of trick-or-treating.

While the holiday is filled with fun and frights (and lots of candy), it’s important to follow expert guidance to ensure your Halloween is a happy one. As you celebrate, make safety a priority – from trick-or-treating safety to avoiding hazards at home. We also encourage eco-friendly practices with your decorations and packaging to keep our community clean.

Check out these essential Halloween safety tips for trick-or-treating, guidance for your costumes and decorations, as well as sustainable ways to dispose of items after the holiday.

Trick-or-Treating Safety

Trick-or-treating is a Halloween tradition across the country, with trick-or-treaters typically out between 5 and 9 p.m.

If your kids want to go door-to-door for candy, they should follow these tips from Johnson County Safe Kids (an affiliate of Safe Kids Worldwide):

  • Go with a Group: Make sure your kids are trick-or-treating with a group of friends or family members. Young children should always be accompanied by a responsible adult.
  • Plan Your Route: Plan your kids’ route in advance. Have them stick to well-lit, familiar neighborhoods and set a time when you expect them to return.
  • Use Sidewalks and Crosswalks: Your kids should stick to sidewalks, use crosswalks when crossing the street and look both ways before crossing.
  • Be Visible: Incorporate reflective elements into your kids’ costumes, or have them carry glow sticks, flashlights or wearable LED lights. This ensures they're visible to drivers and fellow trick-or-treaters.

In addition to trick-or-treating, there are many other ways to celebrate Halloween safely. Johnson County and local cities are hosting a variety of family-friendly events.

Spooky & Safe: Halloween Guidance

Guidance for Costumes and Decorations

Whether you’re dressing up as Michael Myers, Spider-Man or Barbie this Halloween, remember: The best costume is a safe costume. Follow these tips as you pick out your or your child’s apparel:

  • Accessories: Ensure that costume accessories, such as swords or wands, are soft and flexible to prevent accidental injuries. Avoid sharp or dangerous props.
  • Costume Fit: Baggy costumes can pose a tripping risk, especially in the dark. Make sure costumes are the right length, trim any excess material and ensure shoes fit.
  • Masks and Makeup: Masks can restrict breathing and vision. Consider using makeup or face paint to complete your costume safely. If a mask is necessary, make sure it provides adequate visibility.

Decorating your home for Halloween too? Keep your family and any visitors safe as you decorate, and eliminate any fire or tripping hazards:

Fire Hazards: Traditional candles can be a fire hazard when used to illuminate jack-o'-lanterns or other decorations. Instead, use battery-operated LED candles to reduce the risk of fires. Decorations like drapes and props should be made from flame-resistant materials.

Tripping Hazards: Ensure that all decorations, whether indoors or outdoors, are securely anchored and won't pose a tripping hazard. This is especially important for inflatables and extension cords. Clear walkways and driveways of decorations to prevent accidental trips and falls.

Decorative jack-o-lanterns, plastic spiders and fake spiderwebs

Disposing of Decorations and Packaging

After Halloween is over, it’s time to put away the decorations and dispose of any waste. But before you decide to throw everything in the trash, consider alternative ways to get rid of items such as packaging and food containers.

These sustainability tips from Johnson County Department of Health and Environment can help us reduce waste and take care of the environment, ensuring an eco-friendly spooky season in Johnson County.

Reuse and Store: The first step in eco-friendly decoration disposal is to consider storing and reusing your decorations for future Halloweens. Carefully pack away items like string lights, fake spider webs and props to prevent damage and ensure they are ready to use next year.

Eco-Friendly Decorations: Opt for decorations made from eco-friendly materials. Consider using natural items like pumpkins, gourds and hay bales, which can be composted or used as animal feed after the holiday. Even if biodegradable items end up in a landfill, they won't harm the environment.

Donate or Repurpose: If you're no longer interested in a particular decoration, consider alternatives to throwing them in the trash. Donating items to schools, community centers or thrift stores where others can enjoy it. You can also repurpose items into new decorations or crafts.

Recycle When Possible: For decorations that can't be reused or donated, check to see if they can be recycled or composted. Be sure to remove any non-recyclable components before disposing of them.

Here are some tips for common Halloween items and how to properly dispose of them:

  • Food scraps (including candy!) can be composted
  • Candy wrappers and chip bags go in the trash
  • Old costumes can donated or thrown in the trash
  • Clean cans and tins can be recycled
  • Cardboard packaging can be recycled
Health and Environment