Trick-or-treating on Halloween is a beloved annual ritual in New York City. Hundreds of thousands of trick-or-treaters dress up in fantastic costumes and collect sugary goodies from neighbors and local businesses. However, there are numerous safety hazards that parents and children should be aware of when they’re out and about on Halloween. Dangerous property conditions, ill-fitting or dark costumes, and increased foot and vehicle traffic can all lead to severe injuries.
Whether you are trick-or-treating on your block or in another part of the city, consider following these safety tips to protect yourself and your loved ones this Halloween.
Trick or Treating Safety
If your kids will be trick-or-treating in New York City this Halloween, here are some ways you can ensure they have a fun but safe experience:
- Ensure your child is visible – Many children do their trick-or-treating during the daytime in New York, but if your family plans to go out after dark, be sure that your child can see and be seen. Give your kids a flashlight or battery-powered lantern to light their path as they walk.
- Don’t allow your child to trick-or-treat without supervision – Never allow kids to trick-or-treat alone, even if they are trick-or-treating with a large group. Plot your child’s route beforehand, and if you plan to go door-to-door in residential areas, be sure to accompany your child at every stop.
- Stick to the sidewalks – Kids should stick to the sidewalks and avoid walking in the street, where they could encounter vehicle traffic. Encourage children to walk instead of run and to look both ways before they cross the street at an intersection. Don’t allow children to cross streets anywhere other than a marked crosswalk.
- Accept treats at the door – Tell children only to accept candy or treats at the door of a residence, and warn them against going inside.
- Let adults do the pumpkin carving – Don’t let small children handle a knife. Instead, allow them to draw a pattern of their choosing on the pumpkin using a Sharpie and then carve the pumpkin on their behalf. We also recommend against placing an open flame inside the pumpkin. Light the pumpkin using a battery-powered candle or glowstick.
If you’re a store or homeowner planning to hand out candy on Halloween, ensure that your property is free of any potential hazards. Keep walkways clear of clutter, decorations, and cords that trick-or-treaters could trip over. Property owners can be held liable if they fail to eliminate a dangerous condition on their property that leads to an injury.
For more ways to stay safe while trick-or-treating, check out the NYPD’s list of Halloween safety tips.
Candy and Treat Safety
If you ask most children, they’ll tell you that getting candy is the most important part of the Halloween experience. However, it’s always a good idea to exercise caution around treats on Halloween:
- Check candy before allowing kids to eat it – Always inspect your child’s candy before they consume it. Discard any items that are not commercially wrapped, and be sure to check commercially-wrapped candy for tampering. Anything that seems suspicious should be tossed out.
- Watch out for choking hazards – Bubblegum, jawbreakers, and other small candies could potentially pose a choking hazard to young children. If you have young kids, remove potential choking hazards from your child’s Halloween basket.
- Discard candy containing allergens – If your child has any known food allergies, be sure to discard candy and other treats that could cause them to have an allergic reaction. The label should indicate whether the candy contains certain allergens, such as milk, soy, and nuts.
Have your child eat a meal or a snack before they go out trick-or-treating. That way, they’ll be less tempted to consume candy before you have a chance to rummage through it and inspect it for safety.
To prevent accidents and injuries, consider following these costume safety tips:
- Ensure that your child’s costume fits properly. It could cause them to trip and injure themselves if it’s too long.
- When purchasing a Halloween costume, be sure that it is flame resistant. If you decide to make a costume, polyester and nylon are two popular flame-resistant fabrics you should consider using.
- If your child is wearing a mask as part of their costume, have them remove it while walking or riding the subway to the next trick-or-treating destination. Masks can obstruct your child’s view.
- Before applying makeup, make sure that the makeup does not contain any color additives that aren’t FDA-approved. You can find a list of FDA-approved color additives here.
Most importantly, ensure that your child’s costume is visible so that motorists and fellow pedestrians can see them clearly. Have them wear brightly colored clothing or add reflective tape to their outfit so that they are easier to spot after dark.
Many families in New York City use the subway to travel to certain trick-or-treating hot spots within the city, but if you plan to drive, it is crucial to be extra careful around trick-or-treaters to avoid the risk of a preventable car accident. Consider the following tips:
- Don’t drink and drive – If you plan to drink on Halloween, assign a designated driver to take you back home or use another form of transportation, such as a rideshare. Consuming alcohol leads to impaired judgment, and drunk driving could cause someone to become seriously injured or even die. Never risk getting behind the wheel after drinking.
- Don’t get distracted – Watch out for trick-or-treaters, and be especially careful at crosswalks and intersections. Don’t use cell phones or other electronic devices while driving.
- Reduce your speed – If you are driving down the main avenues or in heavily-trafficked residential areas on Halloween, be sure to reduce your speed.
- Look before backing out – Be careful when pulling out of parking spaces, alleys, and driveways, since trick-or-treaters could be passing. Young trick-or-treaters can easily disappear in your blind spots.
Injured This Halloween? Finz & Finz, P.C. Can Help
By following these safety tips, you can keep yourself and your family safe this Halloween. However, if an accident does happen and someone else is to blame, contact Finz & Finz, P.C. for a free consultation. Our New York personal injury attorneys will explain how we can help you seek compensation for your medical expenses and other losses. You can reach our office online or by calling 855-TOP-FIRM.