Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Halloween safety

Tips for keeping kids safe while trick-or-treating

Precautions to take this Halloween night.

COVID safety is still a big issue this year. Bring a mask and practice distancing, but also take note of these tips to keep kids young and old safe on streets at night. 

Halloween can be a real treat. The trick is to make sure Halloween is both fun and safe! Twice as many children are killed while walking on Halloween than on other days, according to Safe Kids USA. Only one in three parents talks about Halloween safety with their kids.

Here’s a good tipsheet from Seattle police. A lot of it is just common sense, but it’s worth repeating, especially at such an exciting and sugar-fueled time.

Here’s how to stay safe even when it’s a dark and stormy Halloween night with ghosts and goblins around every turn.

Read also: What to do with all of that candy?!?

Before going out:

  • Be sure masks fit securely and don’t obstruct a child’s vision.
  • Put reflective tape and stickers on costumes and treat bags, so drivers can see youngsters easily.
  • Give trick-or-treaters flashlights to find their way in the dark (and find the goblins in the way).
  • Sturdy shoes are important on dark, wet streets. Even for little princesses, mom’s high heels aren’t a good idea.
  • Use face paint or cosmetics instead of masks. Test makeup on a small area of skin first to make sure it doesn’t cause irritation.
  • Make sure costumes are flame resistant and short enough to avoid tripping.
  • Be sure the swords, knives, and other costume accessories are soft and flexible.
  • Don’t use decorative contact lenses (the ones that make you look like an otherworldly creature) unless they have been fitted and prescribed by an eye specialist. Halloween eye safety
  • Feed children healthy dinners so they’ll be less likely to gorge on treats.

Safety away from home:

  • Make sure an adult accompanies children on their trick-or-treating rounds.
  • Children should enter and exit the car on the curbside, away from traffic.
  • Walk; don’t run.
  • Don’t dart into streets; cross streets only at intersections and crosswalks. Stop, look left, look right, then left again before crossing.
  • Never enter a stranger’s home or car.
  • Only go to homes where a porch light is on.
  • Avoid houses where you see or hear barking or aggressive dogs.
  • Don’t eat any treats until you get home. Though tampering is rare, an adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.

Make sure your house is safe for visiting trick or treaters:

  • Remove obstacles from sidewalks and paths such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Replace burned-out porch lights.
  • Keep candlelit jack o’lanterns away from where little ghouls might tip them over or get burned.
  • Clear wet leaves from sidewalks and steps.
  • Keep dogs away from the door and other places where people will gather.
  • Think about handing out healthier treats such as individual packages of raisins, trail mix, or pretzels.

Find more information on Halloween safety on the Washington Department of Health’s Children’s Health & Safety website.

This updated story was first published in October 2019.

More ways to celebrate fall:

Tips for planning a full excursion and picking the perfect pumpkin

Where to go watch salmon returning to our local rivers

8 ways to celebrate autumn with your family