Date published: 25th October 2023
So here we are again, All Hallows Eve! Another chance to dust off skeleton/zombie/vampire outfits, enjoy spooky sweets and perhaps enjoy a scary film!
It’s only in comparatively recent history that the occasion took the form we are largely familiar with today. The trick-or-treat tradition appears to first manifest in early 20th century America, followed by the UK in the 1980s – perhaps due to the popularity of Halloween themed movies and culture crossing the Atlantic.
To keep your horror harmless here are my top tips for Halloween Safety.
A few basic precautions
Children are often keen on enjoying Halloween activities as an opportunity to dress up and receive sweet treats - here are a few recommendations for Halloween safety:
Don’t face the night alone – While leniency may vary depending on your location and other factors, typically children under 12 shouldn’t be out on Halloween night without an adult accompanying. Older children may want to go out alone but should stay within a familiar area and travel in larger groups for increased safety.
Road awareness still applies for witches and wizards – The combination of darker trick-or-treating hours and prominently dark outfits may be ghoulishly compelling, but they make people harder to spot for drivers. Make sure you increase the care with which you approach roads and check that drivers have seen you before crossing.
Terrifying, spooky, practical – We all like to get creative with our Halloween costuming, just make sure you consider practical aspects. Try breaking up dark materials with reflective strips for added visibility and ensure your capes aren’t trailing underfoot creating trip hazards. You may also wish to opt for face paint over masks so vision isn’t inhibited.
Beware of creatures on the roads! – If you are driving at night on Halloween be mindful of trick-or-treaters. Take extra care with blind spots and consider reducing your speed a little more to give yourself time to react to people stepping out unexpectedly.
Beware the stranger! – When visiting homes to trick-or-treat be mindful that not everyone may be welcoming or even interested in acknowledging Halloween. To avoid unpleasantries stick to houses with well-lit fronts and/or blinds open with Pumpkins or Halloween decorations up, as they are likely to be more in the spirit of things. Close friends and family are particularly ideal!
Beware the fires! – Jack-O-Lanterns and candles certainly contribute to the Halloween atmosphere, just remember that they still present a fire hazard under the wrong circumstances. Mind trailing costumes around open flames and to be extra safe ensure all your costumes are fire resistant by checking the labelling!
Treats not tricks – When collecting sweets and treats on your Halloween rounds, for extra safety stick to the factory wrapped variety. Unless you know the person you’re visiting, politely refusing homemade treats is preferable for personal safety. The poisoned sweets story from America has taken on a mythical status for Halloween, but tampered sweets is still a possibility, so stick to the factory sealed treats!
Pumpkin precautions – If you’re carving a Jack-O-Lantern for a competition or home decoration be wary of who handles the knives. With young children it’s better to let them draw their designs on and leave the actual carving to responsible older children or adults. You may also wish to substitute your candle with a glow stick or battery light to rule out fire risks, but if you must use a candle make sure it doesn’t burn unattended, set them up outside and keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies.
Sugar, sugar everywhere – but perhaps consider breaking up your family’s intake with a few healthier alternatives. Perhaps introduce some fruits and savoury goods or activities and games that involve non-edible rewards such as books, pens and stickers.
Eye See You! - Decorative, or cosmetic, contact lenses are supposed to be approved by FDA but most are not! The majority of cosmetic lenses sold are non approved. These are often found online or at beauty supply stores, salons, convenience stores, tattoo parlours, and mall kiosks. These contacts can be associated with problems ranging from irritated red eyes to abrasions and even very serious infections.
Illumination spells safety – Complimenting your Halloween group with a torch is always a smart idea, both to light the way and in the event of an emergency.
With all the H&S extremes in place, have an amazing Halloween and don’t be afraid of things that go bump in the night, it is just your morning waste collection.
Last updated: 25th October 2023