How to have a happy, healthy and safe Halloween!

From trick-or-treating to classroom parties to haunted houses, Halloween is a magical holiday. Learn how to keep your family safe during this fun holiday from Dr. Anna Mendenhall, pediatrician at CPCMG Encinitas.

All dressed up:

  • Select costumes that are bright and reflective.
  • Be sure to purchase costumes, wigs and accessories that are labeled flame resistant.
  • Make sure that shoes fit well and costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Use non-toxic makeup/face painting and decorative hats as safer alternatives because masks can limit or block eyesight. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
  • If a sword, cane or stick is a part of your child’s costume (not recommended for safety), make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Put fresh batteries in flashlights for all children and their escorts.
  • Teach children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.

Fun with Pumpkins:

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins! Children can draw on a face with markers but parents, please do the cutting.
  • Strongly consider using a battery-powered “flameless” candle, flashlight or glow stick instead of a fire-lit candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
  • Candle-lit pumpkins should be placed on sturdy surfaces, away from curtains and other flammable objects and should never be left unattended.

Home Safe Home:

  • Remove lawn decorations, toys, bikes and garden hoses from the porch and front yard to prevent children from tripping.
  • Double check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

Planning your Trick-or-Treat Adventure:

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds!
  • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
  • Carry a cell phone for quick communication.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you and agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Instruct children to only visit homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.

Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or Treaters:

  • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
  • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
  • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks. Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
  • Don’t assume the right of way – motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!

A Healthy Halloween A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats!

  • Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween.

And don’t forget, when you see a teal pumpkin, you’ve found a house participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project! For kids with food allergies, Halloween can be tricky and the Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safety for those managing food allergies.  Homes with a teal pumpkin will have special goodies like small toys, stickers and other items for your child instead of candy.

CPCMG wishes you family a happy Halloween!