Halloween Safety Tips; Keep Trick-or-Treaters Safe!

Modified: October 24, 2016 4:50pm

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From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein 

Date October 24, 2016                              

CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov

Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925

Halloween Safety Tips

Keep Trick-or-Treaters Safe!

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Without the right precautions, Halloween can truly become spooky and scary. Follow these tips to keep you, your family and your costumed visitors safe!

Make Your Halloween Decorations Safe

Decorations in your home and yard can pose a risk to your family and to trick-or-treaters who come to your door.

  • Create a well-lit path. Check the lighting for your front entryway and replace any nonworking bulbs. If the approach to your front door and walkway are not well lit, add temporary walkway lights or flashlights for extra illumination.
  • Remove or highlight potential tripping hazards. Clear your lawn, steps and porch of any obstacles. Children may be taking shortcuts across your front yard! Make sure tree roots and other hazards are clearly marked, and secure temporary extension cords (rated for outdoor use, of course!).
  • Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
  •  Avoid open flames. Jack-o'-lanterns with burning candles require constant supervision and can pose a risk to trailing parts of flammable costumes. Opt for battery-operated candles or LED lights instead.
  • Do not overload extension cords. Check the cord periodically: If any part of the cord, the plug or the socket is hot, discontinue use to prevent overheating.

All Dressed Up

  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no allergic reactions.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase flame resistant products.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child's costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and an eye care professional prescription. While the decorative lenses packaging will often make claims such as "one size fits all," or "no need to see an eye specialist," obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. These can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Review with children how to call 9-1-1 if they ever have an emergency or become lost.
  • Exuberant or nervous pets may bolt out doors opened for trick-or-treat candy handouts. Ensure they are wearing up-to-date proper identification in case they become lost.

About Those Treats..

  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Try to ration treats for the days and weeks following Halloween.
  • According to the SPCA Serving Erie County, sweets can cause diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain or worse to our pets.  Purchase Halloween treats made specifically for pets and keep the “people” treats away from where pets can reach them.

“By following this common sense recommendations, we hope all of our trick-or-treaters can have a safe and fun Halloween,” said Dr. Gale Burstein, Commissioner, Erie County Department of Health. “Don’t forget to have all ghosts and goblins brush their teeth well after eating their hard-earned treats!”

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For More Information:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

American Academy of Pediatrics

SPCA Serving Erie County

Frequently Requested



Phone: (716) 858-7690

Fax: (716) 858-8701

Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH)
95 Franklin Street
Buffalo, New York 14202

ECDOH Locations