October 16, 2001
Texas Department of Health Offers Safety Tips to Keep the
Treat in Halloween
- Children are thinking about costumes and candy. But many adults are
thinking about Halloween safety along with the trick-or-treat visits on this
special autumn evening. "People need to be aware of any potential for
injuries along with having fun," said Susan Warren, director of the Safe
Riders Program at the Texas Department of Health (TDH). "Many injuries can
be avoided if adults follow safety suggestions and if parents talk with
their children about staying safe as they enjoy Halloween."
A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows
falls are a leading cause of injuries among children on Halloween. This
evening also poses special risks to young pedestrians, according to theCDC.
About four times as many children aged 5 to 14 are killed while walking on
Halloween evening compared with any other night of the year.
TDH safety tips for children:
* Look left, right and left again for cars and trucks before crossing the
street. Walk on sidewalks. If there isn't a sidewalk, walk on the left side
of the road facing traffic.
* Don't cut across lawns or go through backyards, parks and alleys.
* Don't hide behind cars. Don't cross the street from between parked cars;
go to a corner.
* Never accept rides from strangers. Don't take treats from a person in an
* Use a flashlight when walking. Be sure it has fresh batteries.
* Wear light-colored costumes and put reflective strips on them. Be sure
costumes are short enough so you will not trip.
* Wear comfortable shoes that fit. High heels or big floppy shoes are not
safe for walking. Save them for indoor parties.
* Use face paint rather than a mask or hood that covers your eyes.
* Stay away from lighted candles, matches and open fires.
* Trick-or-treat only at houses with porch lights on.
* Be careful around animals. Even pets you know may be scared by costumes
and loud or strange noises.
* Don't eat any treats until they are checked by an adult. Don't eat
anything in an open package.
TDH safety suggestions for adults:
* Look for a "flame resistant" label on costumes, masks, beards and wigs.
Use fire-resistant materials when making costumes.
* Be sure children carry only soft, flexible knives, swords or other
* Accompany trick-or-treaters under 12.
* Set a time for children to be home. Know the route they will take.
* Never let a child go trick-or-treating alone. Be sure at least two
buddies go together. * Have children eat dinner before they go out. They
will be less likely to snack on treats. * Remove breakable items or
obstacles such as ladders, tools and toys from your yard. * Keep
jack-o-lanterns and lighted candles away from areas where costumes or paper
decorations might touch the flame.
TDH safety information for motorists:
* Slow down in residential neighborhoods. Watch carefully for excited
children who may not be paying attention to traffic. Watch for children in
the street or on medians and curbs.
* Enter and exit driveways slowly and carefully.
* If you are driving children around, be sure they get in and out of the
car on the curb side, away from traffic.
* Do not wear a Halloween mask while driving.
"For added safety, parents may want to have children only visit houses
where they know the residents, and then only if the lights are on," Warren
said. "Parents need to remind children to bring home all treats to be
checked before eating," she said. "Look at the wrapping carefully, and throw
away anything that looks suspicious. Inspect the surface of fruit thoroughly
for any punctures or holes. Wash fruit carefully and cut open before eating.
On Halloween, the only fright should come from a visit by a make-believe
ghost or goblin."