Sure, zombies and werewolves are scary in your favorite Halloween movies. But your little one stumbling through a dark neighborhood while trick-or-treating in an oversized wizard costume that passing drivers can barely see – that’s a real horror. Follow these tips to keep you and your little witches and Frankensteins safe on Halloween:
Apply costume makeup and face paint wisely. Prevent nightmarish skin reactions by using only paints intended for your skin, reading directions thoroughly and checking the label to see if you should avoid use of the product near your eyes. Dab the product on your arm before trying it on your face to test for an allergic reaction, and pitch foul-smelling paints that may be spoiled. Before going to bed, remove makeup or paint according to the product's instructions.
Buy decorative contact lenses only from authorized distributors. Remember that contact lenses, whether they're intended to improve your vision or give you a feline gaze for your cat costume, are medical devices regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Halloween stores, flea markets and salons are a few of the many unauthorized vendors that illegally sell contacts with the false claim that one size fits all. These lenses can lead to scratches and infections of the cornea, pink eye, decreased vision and even blindness. To buy lenses that are safe for you, first get an eye exam from an ophthalmologist or optometrist, who should write a prescription that includes a brand name, lens measurements and an expiration date. You may be able to buy decorative lenses from your eye doctor, but if not, buy lenses only from authorized vendors that sell FDA-cleared or approved lenses, as well as require a prescription and contact information for your eye doctor.
Check that your child's costume is safe. Costumes should be labeled as flame-resistant and fit appropriately to prevent tripping. So ditch the vampire capes that drag on the ground and oversized witch hats that can hinder vision. If your child wears a mask, makes sure that it fits securely and allows him or her to breathe and see safely. Also make sure that fake knives, swords and similar props are soft and flexible.
…And reflective. Trim costumes and goody bags with reflective tape, which you can usually find at sporting good, bike and hardware stores. The tape will make your child more visible to cars while he or she is trick-or-treating. Grab flashlights and glow sticks, too, to see and be seen.
Make a trick-or-treat game plan. Adults should accompany children while trick-or-treating and set rules for older kids who don't need a chaperone. Teach older kids to skip houses that aren't lit, and never enter someone's home or car. Parents and their older kids should also establish a trick-or-treat route ahead of time and agree on a time and place to meet afterward.
While trick-or-treating, stick to the sidewalks. Use crosswalks when possible, and teach your children not to dart across the street from between parked cars. Kids should walk – not run – from house to house. The really scary fact is that Halloween is one of the deadliest nights for pedestrians. Check out these tips from AAA on driving safely on Halloween so you don't harm trick-or-treaters.
Upon returning home, inspect your child's candy. Pitch treats that look like they were tampered with, or more commonly, spoiled or unwrapped.
These tips have been gathered from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and American Academy of Pediatrics.