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Candy, Costumes, and Caution: Tips to Stay Safe this Halloween

Leading up to every Halloween, we see a spike in worries around children’s safety. There are some very real safety concerns, but the biggest worry for most parents should be cars. On Halloween, children are more than twice as likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident than any other. We have some safety tips that are as fun as they are practical for those who are out for festivities, as well as for those who are driving. We want to make sure that kids can see their surroundings and that drivers can see kids.

Safer Snacking

Before we get to the road safety, let’s dig into some ways to be safer about candy and other Halloween treats. While yearly concern about drug contamination in Halloween candy make the mainstream news, there are very few reports of this actually happening, and no evidence that drug makers or sellers are targeting youth to drive addiction (see reporting from NPR, Rolling Stone, CNN, Time, and FOX from last year’s “rainbow fentanyl” scare).

That said, allergens–especially accidental contamination from other candies–can be a real problem for some folks. Here are some things the FDA says you can do to make sure that the candy your child gets during trick-or-treating is as safe for them as possible:

  • Eat a snack before you head out to trick-or-treat so that you’re not tempted to snack on candy before you get home

  • Only accept candy or treats that are commercially wrapped

  • Wait to eat your candy until you get home and can check out the packaging

  • Don’t eat anything if its packaging has torn or come open

  • Double check the ingredient list on any candy or treats (most of these should be available online too)

  • Parents of very young children should sort out anything that could be a choking hazard

If you’re too old for trick-or-treating but still plan on celebrating, you can still be smart about food safety:

  • Make sure every partygoer can have their own cup (or can get a new cup any time) and encourage people to make individual drinks rather than having a communal punch bowl (which can grow bacteria as it sits out, or can be inadvertently spiked)

  • If you’re going to have party drinks that sit out (like punch), use pasteurized juices and ciders to lower the risk of bacterial growth

  • Rinse and brush off apples before using them for bobbing for apples

Dressing the Part

Costumes are a staple to Halloween, and while we want to look our frightful best, safety and fun should go hand in hand.

  • Opt for non-toxic Halloween makeup rather than masks, as masks can limit vision making it difficult to see where you are going; be sure to test a small area of skin for any signs of irritation before applying.

  • If trick-or-treating when it’s dark it might be best to choose a bright, reflective costume or even add reflective tape so they’re more visible. Or be the brightest on the block by wearing glow sticks!

  • When you pick out a costume, make sure it is the correct size to prevent falls. Any props carried should be short and flexible.

The Night Out

The biggest factor in Halloween car incidents is the lack of visibility from low lighting. Here’s some tips for you and your children’s candy prowl:

  • Plan out the route ahead of time to choose the most well lit, and have a clear time on when they’ll be home. It’s always best to have a responsible adult tag along!

  • Walk on the sidewalk on the lit streets, not in alleys or across lawns where visibility is worse.

  • Walk, don’t run, from house-to-house and only visit houses with their porch light on.

  • When crossing the street use a crosswalk, put electronic devices down, and never assume that a vehicle will stop.

  • Instruct your children to never enter a stranger’s car or home.

  • If your older kids are trick-or-treating alone then they should go in a group that stays together, and have their cell phones on them.

For Drivers

For those behind the wheel this Halloween, consider these helpful reminders:

  • There will most likely be pedestrians on the road and some may appear unexpectedly. Driving slower can help save lives.

  • Do not look at or use your phone while driving. Your attention needs to be on the road, and be alert for pedestrians.

  • Some pedestrians may suddenly come out from between parked cars, or even from behind shrubbery. Stop, and wait for them to pass.


U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2022). Halloween Safety Tips: Costumes, Candy, and Colored Contact Lenses. FDA. Accessed September 14, 2023.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (n.d.). Halloween Safety Tips. NHTSA.

Accessed September 14, 2023.

KidsHealth. (2022). Halloween Safety Tips. KidsHealth.

Accessed September 14, 2023.

National Safety Council. (2023). Halloween Safety. National Safety Council.

Accessed September 14, 2023.

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