Halloween Safety

Kids trick-or-treating

Halloween is a time when children get dressed up in costumes and roam their neighbourhoods in search of candy. It is a time for carving pumpkins and decorating your home with spider webs, bats and maybe a few tombstones. This can be a lot of fun, but can also create some safety issues.


Costumes should let your child see and be seen. They should also fit properly and not be able to cause harm to your child or anyone else.

  • Make sure drivers can see your child. Ideally, use costumes with bright fabrics. Keep ninja and assassins visible with reflective tape.
  • Give each child a flashlight or battery-operated lantern to carry. Robots and wielders of magic wands can incorporate lights right into their costumes. Glow sticks are fun and can also make children more visible, but make sure they do not break, as the liquid inside them can irritate your child's skin and eyes.
  • Make sure your child can see. Masks can cut down on your child's range of vision. Instead use hypoallergenic, non-toxic face paint or makeup for your Lone Ranger or superhero. If your child's costume involves a hat, wig or scarf, fasten it securely so it will not slip over your child's eyes.
  • To prevent tripping, make sure shoes fit properly (sorry, clowns and scuba divers) and make sure the length of your child’s costume does not go below their ankles (sorry, wizards and witches).
  • Devils and dragons should not have real flames. Make sure your child's costume cannot catch fire easily. If you are buying a costume, look for a label with the words "flame resistant." Avoid costumes with loose sleeves, baggy pants and billowing skirts.
  •  For obvious reasons, your musketeer's or pirate's sword, cutlass or dagger should not be sharp. Look for or make "weapons" in soft, flexible materials.


Supervise younger children when trick-or-treating. Make sure all children know the rules for crossing the street safely:

  • Before crossing the street, stop and look left, right and straight ahead – then do it again.
  • Cross the street only at crosswalks or intersections. Do not cross between parked cars or other obstacles, such as giant pumpkins or tombstones. If you must cross at a spot with poor visibility, be extra careful about looking left, right and straight ahead before crossing.
  • Walk, do not run, from house to house, and stay on the sidewalk or at the side of the road facing traffic.
  • Rather than crossing and recrossing the street, go up one side of the street and down the other. Keep in mind that Halloween is exciting, and children may forget the rules they follow every day when walking to school.

Other trick-or-treating safety tips:

  • Young children should be supervised by an adult when trick-or-treating.
  • If not with an adult, older children should trick-or-treat in a group.
  • Children should stay in well-lit areas and should only visit homes that have their outside lights turned on. Children should not go inside homes.
  • Tell your children to bring their treats home before eating them so you can inspect them. Discard any treats without wrappers, or treats whose wrappers are damaged.

Halloween tips for children with food restrictions

With some planning, even if your child has food allergies, diabetes or other food restrictions, they should still be able to enjoy Halloween! Here are some tips:

  • Try not to make treats the main focus of Halloween. Instead, focus on the fun of making a great costume, decorating the house and carving a pumpkin. You could throw a party, watch scary movies or go to a community activity such as a haunted house.
  • Talk to your child before they go out trick-or-treating and agree on some ground rules. For example, your child with food allergies could agree not to eat any candy until you look at it and say it is OK.
  • If your child has food allergies, carry their epinephrine auto-injector and some safe treats with you while trick-or-treating. Read the labels on treats before letting your child eat them. You may prefer to buy allergy-safe treats in advance and exchange the treats your child collected for treats you know are safe.
  • If your child has diabetes, they can still have some treats. Remember to build the carbohydrates into their meal plan and check blood glucose​ as usual. Talk to your diabetes nurse or dietitian for more ideas. You can also use low-fat candy such as lollipops or hard candy (but not chocolate) to treat low blood glucose all year round.
  • Exchange treats for small toys, stickers, temporary tattoos and other items your child will enjoy. 

Jack-o'-lanterns and other home decorating

  • Obviously, you do not want your young child carving a pumpkin on their own. Share the job instead! Have young children draw the face on the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds, while older children or adults do the actual carving.
  • Make your home safe for trick-or-treaters: turn on your outside light and remove tripping hazards.
  • Be careful with candles. Keep them out of children's reach and away from anything that could catch fire. You can use small flashlights to light jack-o'-lanterns safely.


Halloween means many children are out and about on the streets. If you do not need to be out, stay home and run errands another time. If you have to drive, try to avoid residential streets during prime trick-or-treating time (5:00 to 9:30 p.m.).

  • Drive slowly in residential areas and check your speed often.
  •  Watch for pedestrians on sidewalks, crossing streets and coming from between parked cars. Children will be excited and they move fast.
  • Take extra care when entering and exiting driveways and alleys. 

​Have a safe and spooky Halloween! And do not miss our page on Halloween safety for kids.

Elly Berger, BA, MD, FRCPC, MHPE


Kids with Food Allergies. 2008. Trick-or-Treating Safety for Children with Food Allergies. Available from: http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php? id=56&title=How_to_take_the_tricks_out_of_treats_when_your_child_has_food_allergies [accessed 2008-10-17].

Safe Kids Canada. 2007. Halloween Safety. Available from: www.safekidscanada.ca [accessed 2008-10-03].