Halloween safety tips for adults and children

The Austin Police Department and the Red Cross are offering tips for both children and adults so that everyone stays safe on Halloween.

APD asks parents to follow a few safety precautions as children take to neighborhood streets for traditional trick-or-treating.

  • Know your trick-or-treater's route
  • Take a flashlight
  • Be sure costumes, shoes, and treat bags are safe
  • Remind children not to enter a stranger's home or car
  • Set rules about not eating treats until your children are home. Inspect all treats before allowing kids to eat them
  • Candy that has been opened should be thrown away. Any homemade treats or fruit should be inspected closely
  • Remember drivers have a hard time seeing people, especially at dusk
  • Never cross the street from between parked cars
  • Watch open flames from jack-o-lanterns as they present a fire hazard for costumes and long wigs. Review the "stop, drop and roll" procedure in case your costume catches on fire
  • Only visit well-lit houses. Don't stop at dark houses
  • Don't enter any homes unless you know the people
  • Carry a spare Halloween bag -- in case it breaks or your original one is filled
  • Make sure fake knives, swords, and guns are made from cardboard or other flexible materials to avoid accidental injury or worse - having them mistaken for the real thing
  • Don't cut across yards. Use sidewalks and stay out of back yards
  • Follow traffic signals and do not jaywalk or cross at mid-block
  • Always watch for cars backing up or turning
  • Never accept rides from strangers
  • Respect other people and their property
  • Be polite and say "thank you"

For those passing out candy, APD has these simple steps:

  • Turn on your porch light
  • Move lit jack-o-lanterns off the porch where kids get bunched up when trick-or-treating in groups
  • Remove objects from your yard that might present a hazard
  • Drive slowly all evening.  You never know what little “creature” may suddenly cross your path
  • Report any suspicious or criminal activity to the police

For adults celebrating Halloween, APD has tips for those "perfect" costumes:

  • Make sure any accessories, such as fake guns, knives, and other potentially dangerous items are not mistaken for the real thing
  • Fire safety and visibility are important for adult costumes. Apply the same standards to adult costumes as you do to your children's
  • Remember adults that are dressed up can be scary to young children

Meanwhile Red Cross offers these safety tips.

COSTUME SAFETY Whether the little one wants to be a ghost, a princess or a superhero, parents can help keep them safe by following some costume advice:

  • Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags. 
  • Have everyone wear light-colored clothing to be seen.
  • Use flame-resistant costumes.
  • Use face makeup instead of masks, which can cover your eyes and make it hard to see.

SAFE TRICK-OR-TREATING To maximize safety, plan the route ahead of time. Make sure adults know where children are going. If the children are young, a parent or responsible adult should accompany them as they make their way around the neighborhood.

Other safety tips to follow include:

  • Make sure trick-or-treaters have a flashlight to see where they are going and be seen by drivers. 
  • Visit only the homes that have a porch light on. Accept treats at the door—never go inside.
  • Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the edge of the roadway, facing traffic. 
  • Look both ways before crossing the street, and cross only at the corner. 
  • Don’t cut across yards or use alleys. Don’t cross between parked cars.
  • It’s not only vampires and monsters people have to look out for. Be cautious around animals, especially dogs.

WELCOMING THE KIDS If someone is manning the candy giveaway at their house, they can make sure it’s a fun night for all by doing the following:

  • Make sure the outdoor lights are on.
  • Sweep leaves from the sidewalks and steps.
  • Clear the porch or front yard of any obstacles that a child could trip over.
  • Restrain the pets.
  • Use a glow stick instead of a candle in the jack-o-lantern to avoid a fire hazard.
  • Use extra caution if driving. The youngsters are excited and may forget to look both ways before crossing