Photo of safe trick or treaters Keep children safe and visible for Halloween.

No doubt you've noticed supermarket shelves overflowing with packages of candy and costume stores doing brisk business in recent weeks. It is all leading up to the last day in October and some cherished traditions of Halloween. While the temptation to eat too much candy always haunts children and adults alike, it's really the activities surrounding trick-or-treating on Halloween night that pose the biggest risks.

Keeping common sense safety in mind can help everyone have a much more enjoyable evening as monsters, ghosts, witches, and goblins make their annual trek through neighborhoods throughout America. Roxanne Woods is the UC Davis injury prevention and outreach coordinator for UC Davis Health System. Along with offering advice on car seat safety, drowning prevention and helping youngsters properly wear bicycle helmets, Woods focuses on annual events such as 4th of July and Halloween.

“Parents and guardians,” says Woods, “just need to take a few minutes as Halloween approaches to remind both themselves and children to keep safety in mind as trick-or-treating approaches. Common sense is a great safety tool, but it's easy to take things for granted unless you take a moment to go over it.”

Woods offers the following tips for a fun and safe evening on Halloween:


  • Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling. Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween, something Woods says emergency room physicians and nurses at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento have often seen.

  • Decorate costumes with reflective tape for greater visibility during dusk and darkness. Make sure costumes also are light enough to be clearly visible for drivers.

  • Costumes, including masks, beards and wigs should be flame resistant; look for the label inside. With candles being part of decorations, avoid costumes that are big and baggy and have billowing sleeves or skirts.

  • Costume accessories (swords, knives, etc.) should be made of soft, flexible material.

  • Consider using face paints rather than masks so vision is not impaired.


  • Plan a route in advance and try to have adult supervision.

  • Use sidewalks and try not to walk in the street except at appropriate places

  • Carry flashlights.

  • Place reflective tape on Halloween bags or sacks.

  • Don't cross the street between parked cars.

  • Visit homes that have well lit yards.

  • Don't run between houses, which can have unseen landscaping hazards, sprinklers and furniture that can present dangers after dark

  • Inspect all treats before eating. Throw it away any package if it is opened.