The witches and ghosts aren't the spooky part of Halloween. Costumes can pose a scarier threat. Improper costume design can create a "trick-or-treating" hazard. The National Safety Council offers a few suggestions:Only fire-retardant materials should be used for costumes.
Be sure costumes are loose enough so that warm clothes can be worn underneath and to allow freedom of movement.
Costumes should not be so long that they are a tripping hazard. (Falls are the leading cause of accidents on Halloween.)
Choose outfits made with light-colored materials. Strips of retro-reflective tape should be used to make children even more visible.
For youngsters under the age of 12, attach their name, address and telephone number (including their area code) to their clothes, but not in an easily visible place.
Face Design:Masks can obstruct vision. Facial make-up is safer, more colorful and more comfortable.
When buying special Halloween make-up, check for packages containing ingredients that are labeled "Made with U.S. Approved Color Additives," "Laboratory Tested," "Meets Federal Standards for Cosmetics," or "Non-Toxic." Most manufacturers list ingredients and/or chemical analysis on packages. Follow manufacturer's instructions for application.
If masks are worn, they should have openings for the nose and mouth, and large eye holes for good visibility.
Knives, swords and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials. Do not allow children to carry sharp objects.
Bags or sacks carried by youngsters should be light-colored or designed or trimmed with retro-reflective tape if trick-or-treaters are allowed out after dark.
Carrying flashlights will help children see better and be seen more clearly.
Trick or Treating Safety Tips: Use flashlights, stay on sidewalks, and avoid crossing yards. Cross streets at the corner, use crosswalks, do not cross between parked cars. Stop at all corners and stay together in a group before crossing. Wear clothing that is bright, reflective, and flame retardant. Consider using face paint instead of masks.
Avoid wearing hats that will slide over their eyes. Avoid wearing long, baggy, or loose costumes or oversized shoes (to prevent tripping). Be reminded to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.
Parents and adults should: Supervise the outing for children under age 12.
Establish a curfew (a return time) for older children.
Prepare homes for trick-or-treaters by clearing porches, lawns, and sidewalks and by placing jack-o-lanterns away from doorways and landings.
Avoid giving choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys as treats to young children.
Inspect all candy for safety before children eat it.
Parents and adults should ensure the safety of pedestrian trick-or-treaters
Make sure children under age 10 are supervised as they cross the street.
Drive slowly and watch for kids in the street and on medians.
Have children get out of cars on the curb side.