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How to Stay Safe for Maximum Fun on Halloween Night

Safety doesn’t have to take the fun out of Halloween! If it’s a holiday you and those you care about participate in, being safe ensures everyone gets maximum enjoyment from the evening.

A family safely enjoying the tradition of pumpkin carving together.

Halloween can be a fun time of the year for kids and adults with spooky decorations, fun costumes, jack-o-lanterns, fall festivals, trick-or-treating, delicious treats, and annual parties. By being cautious and mindful of safety this Halloween, you can make sure it’s fun for everyone.

Pumpkin carving can be a fun, family activity, but it can turn dangerous quickly.

Set up your pumpkin carving station in a well-lit, clean, dry area. Use specialty pumpkin carving kits that are designed to be effective without being razor sharp.

Tip! Cut out your decoration first, before you remove the top and scoop out the seeds. If you remove the top first, you may be tempted to put your hand inside and accidentally cut towards your hand.

Younger children can help with other tasks like drawing the pattern and scooping out seeds but should not be carving with sharp knives.

Halloween decorations including a lit candle which can be dangerous.

Consider fire safety when decorating. Do not overload electrical outlets with special effects and lighting. Keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.

Keep candles away from curtains, decorations, and anything else that might be flammable. Consider using a battery-operated light or a glow stick in jack-o-lanterns instead of a candle. Do not place candles, including those inside jack-o-lanterns, near the front porch or along any other walkways.

Dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper can catch fire easily. Be sure to keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters. Don’t forget to extinguish all candles before leaving the house or going to bed.

Ensure all the smoke alarms in the home are working. As the weather cools and holiday activities begin, the fall season is a great time of the year to replace smoke alarm batteries.

Street signs that say Safe Halloween against a backdrop of fall leaves on trees.

Trick-or-treating children may be unpredictable, difficult to see in the dark, and adult chaperones may be distracted, which is why driving safety is especially important on Halloween. Do not use a cell phone while driving, especially on Halloween.

Drive sober, slowly, and even more carefully than usual. Yield to pedestrians who may be crossing the street unexpectedly. Trick-or-treaters often travel in groups so if you see one person crossing the street, there are probably more following.

Enter and exit driveways and neighborhood alleys carefully. Drive slowly on residential streets. Remind all household drivers to remain cautious and discourage new or inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween.

When driving around for trick-or-treating or visiting friends on Halloween, ensure everyone remains buckled up. Pull over at safe locations and everyone should exit at the curb, away from traffic. If the driver is remaining in the car, use hazard lights to alert other drivers.

When parking, try to find a spot where you won’t need to back up, but if it’s unavoidable, make sure to use extreme caution or have another adult stand safely outside the car to ensure no children run behind the vehicle.

Three young children in costumes who are trick-or-treating.

As you prepare for trick-or-treaters, take the time to eliminate tripping hazards on your front lawn, walkway, porch, and steps. Consider items like flowerpots, low tree limbs, support wires, garden hoses, and broken steps. If you are handing out treats, keep your porch light turned on.

Young children may be with adult chaperones on Halloween, but it’s always best to review some safety rules with the older trick-or-treaters before sending them out for some evening fun.

Walk in groups and only cross the street at corners and crosswalks. Never cross the street between parked cars! Stick to well-lit streets for trick-or-treating. Discuss the general route ahead of time and establish a return time.

For visibility, costumes should not be made of entirely dark material. If possible, trick-or-treaters should wear light colors, carry a flashlight or glow stick, or even add reflective material to costumes and candy sacks. It may be hard to resist, but it is always best not to run across lawns where there may be trip hazards like uneven ground, holes, decorations, or extension cords.

Do not assume vehicles will stop or that drivers can see you. Visibility at dusk and in neighborhoods that do not have adequate street lighting can be challenging for drivers.

A dog and a cat dressed in Halloween costumes.

It can be fun to include pets in your holiday activities but consider these safety tips to ensure pets stay safe on Halloween.

Keep candy and treats out of reach. Chocolate can be very dangerous for cats and dogs, and sugar-free candy that contains xylitol can cause serious problems in pets.

Place festive Fall decorations where pets can’t get to them. Items like pumpkins and decorative corn are considered relatively nontoxic but they can cause an upset stomach in pets that nibble on them. Don’t place a lit candle in or on decorations, like jack-o-lanterns, that can be knocked over by pets.

Do not put a costume on your pet unless you know they love it. For some pets, wearing a costume can cause stress, which may lead to abnormal behavior. If you do dress up your pet make sure the costume does not limit their movement, sight, or ability to breathe.

All the activity, noises, and strangers of Halloween night can be scary and stressful for some pets, so it is often best to keep pets secured in another room, especially while opening the door for guests and trick-or-treaters. Always make sure your pet is wearing a collar with an up-to-date tag, just in case.

A pile of candy corn.

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