Safety Tips for a Fun, Safe & Happy Halloween

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Provided by Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue


Halloween is just one of many cherished childhood memories; yet each year, a large number of children are injured or killed on this night of masquerade, treats and fun. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a vehicle and killed, on Halloween, than on any other day of the year.

The leading cause of Halloween-related injuries is falls in which children are four times as likely to fall, on Halloween, than on any other night of the year. In addition to injuries, Halloween-related deaths occur among children as well; reports indicate the lack of adult supervision is the primary cause. During this festive holiday, Chief Kevin McGee of the Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue (, urges parents and guardians to closely supervise children when participating in Halloween activities to protect them from unintentional injuries or worse.

If you plan on trick-or-treating, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) summarizes Halloween safety as the following:

  • Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
  • Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
  • Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you. (Be Seen On Halloween!)
  • Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
  • Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. (Be Seen On Halloween!)
  • Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent skin and eye irritation.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
  • Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.
  • Only walk on sidewalks or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
  • Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
  • Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats unless you know the cook well.
  • Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Otherwise, stay outside.
  • Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.


At Home

If you’re expecting trick-or-treaters or hosting a Halloween party, be sure:

  • Walking areas are well-lit and free of obstacles.
  • Items lit with candles, i.e., jack-o-lanterns and luminaries:
    • Place away from doorsteps, walkways, landings and curtains.
    • Place on sturdy tables.
    • Keep out of reach from children and small pets.
    • Never leave unattended.

On the Road

If you’re out and about on Halloween night, follow these safety tips

  • Drive slowly and safely while being observant of children at intersections, medians and curbs. Trick-or-treaters are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways such as avoiding the use of sidewalks and running between parked cars.
  • Slowly and carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys.
  • Reduce any distractions inside your car, such as talking on the phone or eating, so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

Remember: typical trick or treat hours are between 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Halloween Decorations

When decorating for that added special effect follow these simple safety tips:

  • Inspect decorations for loose connections, frayed or bare wires and broken or cracked sockets. Hang lights using plastic hooks or clips to reduce the risk of electric shock and fire hazards. Never nail or staple light strings.
  • Don’t overload extension cords. Use special, heavy duty extension cords for high wattage decorations such as fog machines and electrically-powered inflatable decorations.
  • Look for the UL Mark on light strings, electrical decorations and extension cords. The UL Mark means the product has been found free of foreseeable hazards and is safer for your family.
  • Keep candles away from items that easily catch fire, such as decorations, window treatments, and paper.
    • Halloween is the fifth highest day for reported candle fires.
    • Each year, during 2007 – 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 10,630 home fires started by candles.

For more information on Halloween Safety, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Safe Kids Worldwide, the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Fire Administration & Federal Emergency Management Agency


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