Safety tips for Halloween

Children will soon dress up in costumes and take to Central Texas neighborhoods for trick-or-treating, but before they go, ADC doctors recommend taking a few simple steps to make sure everyone stays safe.

We asked Dr. Mynda Waldrop, one of ADC’s EasyCare pediatricians, what tips she tells her patients and their parents to do as they prepare for Halloween night trick-or-treating.

Costume safety

Safety begins before you even walk out of the door, Dr. Waldrop says. Dressing up in costumes is fun, but it’s also important to make sure they are safe.

“Before they leave the house you want to make sure all of the costumes are fitting well. You don’t want to wear a mask that’s covering the face where you’re blocking any kind of vision,” she said.

Try to avoid long costumes that kids could trip on.

Makeup is a good alternative to masks, but not all Halloween costume makeup is safe. If your trick-or-treater wears any makeup – test a small spot first on his or her skin – not the face — to make sure they’re not allergic to it.

Some people like using special contact lenses to change their eyes and enhance their costumes. But Dr. Waldrop says you should avoid them – they can lead to infections, permanent vision damage and even blindness.

“People like those contacts that are colors, and they have zigzags and colors in them, and they’re usually not safe for your eyes,” she said.

Not everyone’s eyes can tolerate contacts. Children under 12 especially should avoid them because their eyes are not fully developed.

Takeaway costume safety tips

  1. Wear costumes that fit well and don’t block vision
  2. Test makeup for allergies
  3. Avoid costume contact lenses

Two children om costumes at closed front door

Trick-or-treating safety

It’s usually dusk or already dark outside when it’s time to head out for trick-or-treating, so the most important thing you should do is make sure cars can see you.

Go in large groups and to watch for cars when walking around a neighborhood or crossing the street.

Dr. Waldrop says you can stick reflective tape to costumes to help make them visible.

“If it’s going to be dark whenever you’re trick-or-treating, then you want to make sure that everyone can see them. So put that tape on there, especially if they are dark-colored costumes,” she said.

You can also carry flashlights and glow sticks.

Parents should accompany elementary school kids, but Dr. Waldrop says they can be in the background.

“They should pretty much stay in their neighborhood – people that they know. They can go up to any neighborhood that’s family friendly. You don’t want to go into an area that you just don’t know.”

Takeaway trick-or-treating tips

  1. Go in large groups along well-lit routes
  2. Watch for cars
  3. Wear reflective tape, carry flashlights or glow sticks

Candy safety

Before your let your kids dig into all of that Halloween candy, make sure you check it out.

“Just go through and make sure nothing’s been tampered with – nothing that looks like it’s been messed with in any way,” Dr. Waldrop said. “Just kind of eyeball it to make sure.”

Only eat candy that’s been unopened and is still in its original wrapper. If you walked away with fruit or homemade treats, make sure you inspect it for anything suspicious.

“We would rather they have those pre-prepared treats – not anything that they’ve cooked… unless you actually know the people you’re going up to,” Dr. Waldrop said.

And once you give the green light, you might want to remind kids about moderation.

“Don’t eat it all at one time,” Dr. Waldrop said.

Takeaway candy tips

  1. Inspect treats for anything suspicious
  2. Try not to eat it all at once. J