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15 Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips Parents Need to Know

This Halloween, you'll only want scares from spooky ghosts and goblins—not from injuries or lost children. Here's how to have a fun and safe Fright Night.

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Find alternatives for masks

Masks tend to stifle breathing and partially block eyesight, making children less alert to their surroundings. Try swapping out a full-face cover for face paint or a well fitting hat that won’t slide over the eyes. If neither of those options work, try on the mask yourself and cut larger openings if you think the eye and mouth holes should be bigger. These are secrets trick-or-treaters want you to know.

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Make yourself visible

Especially if your kids are dressed in a spooky black outfit, it could be hard for oncoming cars to see trick-or-treaters in the dark. Make sure you and every kid carry a flashlight so drivers can see you from far away, and consider adding reflective tape to costumes and bags to make you even more visible.

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Prevent skin irritation

Test any face paint or makeup on a small area to make sure your children’s skin doesn’t react badly with any ingredients. Have your kids wash their faces thoroughly before bed to avoid eye or skin irritation during the night.

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Avoid colored contacts

Unless your kids have an eye doctor’s approval, don’t let them wear decorative contact lenses. Some packages will claim “no need to see an eye specialist” or “one size fits all,” but it’s illegal to get them without a prescription. An improperly fitted lens could cause eye damage such as pink eye, cornea scratches, and even blindness.

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Dress for the weather

A thick dragon costume might be stifling in a balmy southern state, while a bare-shouldered princess dress could give children in northern areas goose bumps. Consider the weather when costume planning, and consider dressing up your kids’ jackets to match their outfits if you’re afraid they’ll get chilly.

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Pick a practical goody bag

Some novelty bags are heavy or long, making them a troublesome for young kids. Consider having your children use a backpack to tote their treats so their hands can stay free for a flashlight. Consider handing out these non-candy treats trick-or-treaters will still love.

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Find the right fit

Make sure your kids’ costumes fit well. Long capes or skirts that drag on the ground could trip your child or get caught in bushes. These are first aid rules your child needs to know.

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Choose sneakers

Floppy high heels and clunky boots might seem like a natural choice for your kid’s costume, but they could also lead to stumbles and sore feet. Opt for a sturdy pair of sneakers instead to avoid a night of carrying your child from door to door.

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Soften up toy weapons

Even plastic swords and knives can be painful if a kid gets rowdy or falls on top of them. Minimize injuries by giving your child accessories that are soft, flexible, and short.

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Make your home a safety zone

To keep visiting trick-or-treaters safe when they come to your door, clear your lawn and walkway of anything they might trip over, and keep the walkway as well lit as possible. No matter how friendly you think your pet is, leave it inside so it doesn’t scare any children. Try decorating with these funny printable pumpkin designs.

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Keep kids supervised

Young children should always have an adult escort them from house to house. If your kids are old enough to venture out on their own, be sure they go in a group and discuss the route they’ll take and what time they’ll be home.

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Stick to sidewalks

Your kids might get overexcited and want to sprint to each candy collection spot, but make sure they calmly walk instead to cut any risk of them dashing in front of a car. Stick to sidewalks or the edge of the road instead of cutting through lawns, where items might trip kids who can’t see well in the dark.

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Let cars pass

Pedestrians have the right of way, but that doesn’t mean you should step confidently in front of a moving vehicle. As always, look both ways and don’t assume a driver has seen you before crossing the street. Check out these safety mistakes even careful parents make.

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Have an emergency plan

Come up a backup plan in case you get separated from your kids. Give them a card with your cell phone number on it so they can get in touch with you.

Only keep factory-sealed snacks

Examine your kids’ goodies when they get home to make sure all their treats are sealed. Toss any candy with damaged packaging or homemade treats made by a stranger. Here are clever ways to use leftover Halloween candy.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest