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Halloween Safety

Halloween Fires Jack-O-Latern

Many Halloween fires, especially those in vacant or abandoned buildings, are the result of arson. Alcohol or drugs are a factor in 20% of these fires which may be contributed to the popularity of costume parties or other celebrations where alcohol is served.

On both Halloween and the evening before, popularly called "Devil's Night," the occurrence of fire increases in both structures and outdoors. As Halloween has typically been associated with activities and cultural icons related to mischief, it is not surprising to find that the origin of many of these fires is suspicious or incendiary. In fact, arson fires on these days are nearly 10% higher than the national average.

In addition to an increased incidence of arson, the Halloween period also generally experiences an increase in fires caused by open flame, which is related to the increase use of candles at this time of the year.

Halloween Night

Halloween is a cherished tradition, but the excitement of the night can cause children to forget to be careful. There is no real "trick" to making Halloween a real treat for the entire family. The major dangers are not from witches or spirits, but rather from falls and pedestrian/car crashes. Many communities officially designate a "Beggars' Night" and assign specific hours for trick-or-treat activities.

Both children and adults need to think about safety on this annual day of make-believe.

The following Halloween Safety information is provided by the National Safety Council.

Safety Tips For Motorists

  • Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.

  • Watch for children walking on roadways, medians, and curbs.

  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.

  • At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.

  • Never use your cell phone while driving.

  • Discourage teens from driving on Halloween. There are too many hazards and distractions for inexperienced drivers.

Trick-Or-Treating

  • Make sure that a parent or responsible adult will be supervising the outing for children under age 12.

  • Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow. Know the names of older children's companions.

  • Instruct your children to travel only in familiar, well-lit areas and AVOID trick-or-treating alone.
    Halloween Safety Kit
  • Teach your children to NEVER enter a stranger's home.

  • Agree on a specific time for your children to come home.

  • Tell your children NOT to eat any treats until they return home.

  • Pin a slip of paper with the child's name, address, and phone number inside a pocket in case the youngster gets separated from the group.

  • Provide children with lightweight flashlights with fresh batteries to help them see and for others to see them.

  • Tell children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop, and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out).

  • If your children are going to Halloween parties at others' homes, have them look for exits and plan how they would get out in an emergency.

  • Make sure your child or a responsible adult with them carries a cell phone for quick communication.

  • Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian/traffic safety rules.

    Look both ways before crossing the street and use established crosswalks whenever possible.

    Walk, do not run, from house to house.

    Do not cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards and never walk near lit candles or luminaries.

    Walk on sidewalks, not in the street. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the far edge of the road facing traffic.

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Halloween Decorations/Candles

Holiday home decorations, including crepe paper, dried flowers and cornstalks, are also highly flammable and should be kept far from potential heat sources (e.g. candles, light bulbs, and heaters).

Candles are a popular home decoration, both in jack-o'-lanterns and alone. Some Halloween novelty candles have been recalled in recent years due to safety concerns over the height of the flames they produce. Candles can be dangerous, especially when left unattended, so their use as decorations is discouraged. Also, children should not be allowed to carry candles; other light sources such as flashlights should be substituted. It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candle in a jack-o'-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o'-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of way of trick-o-treaters, doorsteps, walkways, and yards. Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.

CostumesHalloween Costume

  • Buy only costumes, wigs and props labeled fire-resistant or fire-retardant. If you are making your own costume, choose material that won't easily ignite if it comes in contact with heat or flame. Stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric.

  • Costumes should be loose so warm clothes can be worn underneath.

  • Costumes should not be so long that they are a tripping hazard. (Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween).

  • If children are allowed out after dark, outfits should be made with lighted colored materials. Strips of retro-reflective tape should be used to make children visible.

Face Design

  • Masks can limit or block eyesight, so consider non-toxic makeup or decorative hats as safer alternatives.

  • When buying special Halloween makeup, make sure it is non-toxic and always test it in a small area first. Remove all makeup before children go to bed to prevent skin and eye irritation.

  • If your child is wearing a mask, they should have large eye holes and nose and mouth openings. Encourage your children to remove their masks before crossing the street.

Accessories

  • Knives, swords and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials. Do not allow children to carry sharp objects.

  • Bags or sacks carried by youngsters should be light-colored or trimmed with retro-reflective tape if children are allowed out after dark.

  • Carrying flashlights will help children see better and be seen more clearly.
    Halloween Candy

Treats

  • Give children an early meal before going out to prevent them from filling up on Halloween treats or eating anything before you can inspect it.

  • Insist that treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten, then examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before your children eat them.

  • Only let your children eat factory-wrapped treats. Avoid homemade treats unless you know the cook well.

  • When in doubt, throw it out.

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