Beyond Basics: Trick or Treat Tips from our EMS Safety Expert

halloween-kidsBreak out the costumes and face paint because it’s almost that time of year again, Halloween. While Halloween may be the superbowl Sunday for candy hungry little monsters and superhero’s, it can be a time of worry and anxiety for parents. Aside from having to find the right costume and gear for the kids, the preparation for the activities is of the utmost importance. The following is just a small list of things to consider before Halloween to help everyone have fun and ease some worry.

Plan to go with your child or children. This may seem like a ”no brainer“ but it would surprise you how many people just send children out with a group.

If you are going to go in a group, try to make it a small but manageable group. Groups with large amounts of children can get confusing and problematic, so try to keep the group ratio at 3 to 4 children per adult if possible.

Having the children carry AND wear something lit such as a flashlight, glow bracelet or necklace, or flashing attire for visibility. Light-up shoes are also practical and ever-so-noticeable on a dark Halloween night. Remember, you want them to be seen by cars driving by and you. This goes for parents as well. Parents should be the guides to both kids and cars passing by and that is best accomplished by being easily seen.

Adults should try and plan a route in advance and check it during the daylight for such obstacles as broken sidewalks (or no sidewalks), construction or other obstacles that could trip up trick or treaters. Trick or treating in familiar neighborhoods or areas will make everyone more comfortable and in the event something does happen, it is always best to be in familiar surroundings.

Try to have the children wear well fitting, comfortable shoes, preferably sneakers. While adorable in the store as a costume accessory, kids planning to go trick or treat should wear sturdy shoes and not the princess high-heel, too-large boots, or other types of shoes often shown with costumes. Save those types of shoes for costume parties and not when a child is going to trick or treat. Their feet–and most likely you who may end up carrying either the shoes or the child and you – will both be thankful. Also avoiding costumes that drag on the ground can help as well. While cute initially, costumes that drag can trip up little feet, get caught on bushes, and create a tussle that sometimes results in the child wanting to remove the costume. Remember, kids who trick or treat want to be costumed AND comfortable.

The parent should always go with the child to the door to see what is being handed out (and who is doing the handing out). If what is being handed out looks old, suspicious, or just plain wrong, then move on to the next house or Immediately remove it from your child’s stash and get rid of it or keep it for reporting if necessary. But the most important part is that the child will not have it.

Allergies are on this list too. If your child has food allergies, then it is critical that you inspect everything they have received and do your best to weed out possible problems before your child ingests anything. Bringing along a child EPI-PEN can really do wonders here to give you a little more piece of mind.

Now the staples of Halloween safety will always apply to this list.

  • Only approach well lit houses,
  • Inspect ALL candy and items in your child’s bounty BEFORE they have a chance to eat it, separate it with friends or hide it somewhere.
  • Try and go at dusk before it becomes too dark and much harder to see children and
  • Try to walk and not run and
  • Always have a cell phone handy in case of emergency.

The list of tips for safety on Halloween can go on forever and when it comes to your children, you can never be too safe, but by using some pre planning and basic safety techniques, you and your monsters, superhero’s and princesses will have a great and safe Halloween.

About the Author

Greg Atwood is a Firefighter /Paramedic in Coral Gables Florida and works for the Coral Gables Fire Rescue. He is an American Heart Association certified instructor in BLS ( Basic Life Support ), ACLS ( Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Support ), and PALS ( Pediatric Advanced Life Support ). Greg currently lives in Miami Florida with his beautiful wife Alexa and their 2 sons, Connor and Jake. Greg is a former member of the PedSafe Expert team


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