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Trick-or-treat safety tips

Bryn Mawr Hospital October 9, 2023 Pediatrics

Halloween parades, last-minute costume fixes and trick-or-treating are starting to dominate your to-do list. It can only mean one thing: Halloween is coming.

While Halloween is a fun holiday to celebrate, it can also present some serious health risks. The risk of injury is high when you're in costume and taking a walk through the neighborhood at night, when you may be more focused on your treats than the road.

Here are some tips for making your trick-or-treat outings safe and memorable.

Halloween costume safety tips

There are a few safety precautions you can take with your Halloween costume to make sure you’re trick-or-treating on the safer side. Here are some things to skip when you dress up this year: 

Unless they've been approved by an optometrist or physician, skip the use of novelty contact lenses. While they might add a little something extra to your costume, they have the potential to cause scratches on the cornea, a cornea infection, pink eye and — in severe cases — blindness.

Plastic swords or wands can be fun, but if they're too sharp they can can be dangerous if kids slip or fall. So skip the sharp objects, too.

Before using any costume makeup on your child's face, patch test in on your arm or another area of the skin first to check for an allergic reaction. Even though some makeup might be labeled as safe to use, the reaction can vary from person to person.

While masks might be easier than applying makeup or face paint, they can also make it harder to see when you're out at night and trick-or-treating. Choose costume makeup over masks for safety.

If your child is going to be spending a long time in their costume, make sure to get a size larger to leave some extra room so they can move around comfortably, or to allow for layers on a chilly night.

Keep safe when trick-or-treating

When you're walking through the neighborhood at night, it can be difficult for drivers to see you. And, while they should drive cautiously, it's always good to bring a glow stick or flashlight with you so that you're more visible to others, just in case.

Trick-or-treating with a group is always safest. If your child is out trick-or-treating with friends, make sure you know who they're out with and how you can get in touch with them in an emergency. If no one in the group has a cell phone, ask if there will be a parent who will be supervising the group who you can contact.

You might have a pair of shoes that matches your costume well, but wearing comfortable sneakers will serve you better for a night of walking around.

Halloween candy safety

It's well-known advice by now, but it always bears repeating. Before your child digs in, do a quick sort through their candy and chocolate stash to make sure that there are no pieces that appear to be unwrapped or tampered with.

Be allergy-aware. If your trick-or-treater has food allergies, you'll have to pay special attention to which treats they're taking. In recent years, more families have started to take part in the Teal Pumpkin Project, a nationwide movement where homes with teal pumpkins offer treats for children with food allergies.

If your child has insulin-dependent diabetes or food allergies, join us for a safe exchange at the Bryn Mawr Hospital Halloween Candy Exchange on November 1 from 5 to 7 p.m.. Wear your costume, enjoy face painting and pumpkin carving and exchange your Halloween candy for great prizes and healthy snacks.

Main Line Health and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have teamed up to provide expert pediatric care to the little humans in our community. The affiliation between CHOP and Main Line Health brings the best of academic medicine — cutting-edge research, standardized clinical pathways that ensure consistency of care and innovative quality improvement projects — close to home for families in the Philadelphia suburbs. Together, we elevate the care your child has access to, leading to improved outcomes and a better quality of life for your family.

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