Tips for a Fun and Safe Halloween

Some would say Halloween has always been scary.

It was first called “All Hallows’ Eve,” and people believed that there were no barriers separating the world of the living from the world of the dead. As a result, many locked themselves in their homes because they feared that ghosts and demons were roaming the streets. If people absolutely had to go out, they disguised themselves in costumes.

Halloween has become a lot more fun today, peppered with costumes, sweet treats and community events.

But, if you’re a parent, it can still generate some anxiety.

To help ease any worry, Seattle Children’s would like to share some guidelines  to help you and your child have a fun and safe Halloween.  Watch the video above for additional tips and treats.


• Don’t let young kids handle knives. Have them draw their designs on the face of the pumpkin with a black marker – then you do the carving.
• Use a sharp knife or a mini-saw that’s pointed away from your body.
• Keep kids at a safe distance while you’re carving the pumpkin, so that they don’t distract you or get in the way of sharp objects.
• Remove the insides of the pumpkin safely. Let your little one get messy by scooping it out with their hands or an ice cream scoop.
• Clean up the mess right away so that no one slips or trips.
•  Skip the candles. A burning candle in a pumpkin may become a blazing fire if left unattended. Instead, use a glow stick to safely light your jack- o’- lantern.


• Avoid long or baggy skirts, pants, or shirtsleeves that could catch on something and cause falls.
• Avoid oversized and high-heeled shoes that could cause your child to trip.
• Make sure costumes are flame resistant.
• Make sure wigs and beards don’t cover your child’s eyes, nose, or mouth.
• Check that any props your child carries, such as a wand or sword, is flexible.
• Use non-toxic face paint.


• With Young Children

•  Kids under age 10 should have an adult with them during trick-or-treating.
•  Children should know a home or cell phone number, and how to call 911 in case they get lost.
• Kids should be reminded to walk, not run, between houses and up and down stairs.

• Older Kids Trick-Or-Treating Without an Adult

•  Make sure you approve of the route your child will be taking and agree on when they will come home.
•  Make sure they know a home or cell phone number for a parent and any other trusted adult who’s supervising, and how to call 911 in case they get lost.
•  Be sure your child carries a cell phone and a flashlight with new batteries.
•  Insist that your child goes in a group that stays together.
•  Remind your child to cross the street at crosswalks and never assume that vehicles will see them and stop.
•  Tell your child to only stop at houses with porch lights on.
•   Remind your child to walk on sidewalks on lit streets, never walk through alleys or across lawns, and never go into strangers’ homes or cars.

• Trick-or-Treating at Your Home

•  Remove lawn decorations, sprinklers, toys, bicycles, wet leaves or anything that might block your walkway and yard.
•  Provide a well-lit outside entrance to your home.
•  Keep family pets away from trick-or-treaters, even if they seem harmless to you.
•  Consider purchasing Halloween treats other than candy. Stickers, erasers, crayons, pencils, coloring books, and factory-sealed packages of raisins and dried fruits are good choices.


• Offer a well-balanced meal before your child heads out to trick-or-treat so they won’t be tempted to snack on too much of their haul.
• Check all treats when your child gets home to make sure they’re safely sealed and there are no signs of tampering, such as small pinholes, loose or torn packages, and packages that appear to have been taped or glued back together. Throw out loose candy, spoiled items, and any homemade treats that haven’t been made by someone you know.
• Don’t allow young children to have hard candy or gum that could cause choking.
• Consider being somewhat lenient about candy eating on Halloween. Kids who generally eat a couple of pieces and save the rest might be able to decide how much to eat. But if your child tends to overdo it, consider setting limits.
• Store the rest of the candy in a cupboard instead of in your child’s bedroom or in big bags or bowls on the counter. You can then you can let your child have a treat or two a day.

If you’d like to arrange an interview with Dr. Woodward, please contact Children’s PR team at 206-987-4500 or at [email protected]

George A. (Tony) Woodward, MD, MBA, is medical director of the Emergency Department and chief of the Division of Emergency Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital. He is also a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine.  Dr. Woodward serves as the medical director for Transport Medicine at Seattle Children’s. He received his MD from Temple University Medical School and his MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.