Tips for a Safe Halloween


Updated with new info for 2015!

If you grew up listening to your parents tell you that every apple would have a razor blade inside, some of these helpful tips will sound OBVIOUS to you. If you are more the type to take candy from a stranger (which we will all be doing on Halloween night), then read on! We have put together a great list of safety tips over the years with help from our Redwood City Police Department to help all of us – adults and children alike, even your pets- have a safe and candyriffic Halloween night!

  • Welcome trick-or-treaters with your porch lights and any exterior lights on.
  • Remove any outdoor obstructions that could pose a threat to people walking onto your property. (toys, hoses, gardening equipment)
  • Patrol your street occasionally to discourage speeding motorists, acts of malicious mischief and crimes against children.
  • Report any suspicious or criminal activity to your police department immediately.   Call  9-1-1.
  • Do not give homemade or unwrapped treats to children.


  • Exercise extreme caution when driving a vehicle.  Be on the alert for excited youngsters, whose vision may be obscured by masks, darting out into traffic.
  • Leave yourself plenty of travel time. Drive slower than usual. It’s one night. Being late is a better option.
Make sure your kids dress up safely
  • Make sure costumes are flame retardant so children aren’t in danger near burning jack-o-lanterns.
  • Keep costumes short to prevent trips, falls, and other bumps in the night.
  • Try make-up instead of a mask. Masks can be hot and uncomfortable, and they can obstruct a child’s vision, a dangerous thing when kids are crossing streets and going up and down steps.
  • Make sure kids wear light colors or put reflective tape on their costumes.
  • Wear comfortable, safe shoes.
Make trick-or-treating trouble free
  • Create a map of a safe trick-or treating route and set a time limit for your children to “trick-or-treat.” Your neighborhood Nextdoor group now has a candy map which can help you to create your safe-route!
  • Make sure older kids trick-or-treat with friends. Together, map out a safe route so you will know where they are going. Tell them to stop only at familiar homes where the outside lights are on and be very clear about your expectations for the evening.
  • Trick-or-treaters should always be in groups so they aren’t a tempting target for real-life goblins. Parents should accompany young children.
  • Try to get your kids to trick-or-treat while it’s still light out. If it’s dark, make sure someone has a flashlight and pick well-lighted streets.
  • Do not go inside anyone’s home. Remain on the porch at all times.
  • Do not accept rides from strangers.
  • Remind kids to keep a safe distance from moving cars.
  • Cross only at street corners, NEVER between parked cars, and never diagonally across an intersection.
  • Look in all directions before crossing the street, and obey all traffic signals. Walk, never run, across the street, and use sidewalks, not the street, for walking.
  • Do not take shortcuts through back yards, alleys or parks.
  • Do not eat any treats until parents have inspected them.
  • Discard any homemade or unwrapped treats.
Check all treats before eating
  • It’s hard for kids to hold back from eating their treats until they get home. One way to keep trick-or-treaters from digging in while they’re still out is to feed them a meal or a snack beforehand.
  • Check out all candy in a well-lighted place when your trick-or-treater gets home.
  • What to eat? Only unopened candies and other treats that are in original wrappers. Don’t forget to inspect fruit and homemade goodies for anything suspicious. By all means remind kids not to eat everything at once or they’ll be feeling pretty ghoulish for while!
  • Halloween can be a lot of fun for parents and kids alike–if everybody remembers the tricks and treats of playing it safe.
  • Call 9-1-1 if you suspect any tainted candy.

Just Like July 4th, Halloween can pose stressful for your animals as well as deadly.

  • Keep your pets away from the door. Dogs are especially territorial and this night can bring out the worst in them. A comfortable secure room in your home will keep your pet happy and they will be very thankful.
  • Tell your child if they see an animal, even one they know, to remember that they are in costume and may be extra scary to their 4-legged friend.
  • Two things that are DEADLY to dogs are Chocolate and the chemical, Xylitol. Xylitol can be found in sugar-free gum, candy, breath mints and baked goods– which we already told you not to hand out. 😉
  • PETMD says to keep your outdoor cats inside several days before and several days after Halloween. “Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents.”
  • Decorations and the excessive number of extension cords can pose harmful.
  • Make sure your animals are properly tagged in case they escape.
  • Check out for more pet safety tips.

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