Whether you like to take the kids trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, dress up for a fun party, or pass out treats while watching scary movies, Halloween is an exciting time to be a kid, a parent, or a kid at heart.
But it isn’t called trick-or-treating for nothing. Elevated crime rates, fire hazards, and masked strangers are all things to watch out for during this notoriously mischievous holiday.
So no matter how you plan to celebrate the spooky season this year, here is everything you need to know about how to stay safe during Halloween.
How to Stay Safe During Halloween
Go in Groups
Trick-or-treating in groups is not only more fun, but it’s also a lot safer.
Mischief makers understandably don’t like to be outnumbered and are less likely to target a group of people. Even a group of four or five can help increase your safety.
If you head out with a large group, it can be difficult to keep track of everyone, especially with little ones. Stick together, and do an occasional headcount to make sure you haven’t lost anyone.
A great way to keep an eye on small children, and to make sure they’re visible to motorists, is to give them glow sticks. They’ll love their new glow-in-the-dark necklaces, and you’ll love how easy it is to spot them.
If you’ve got older kids heading out without an adult, make sure to talk to them about Halloween safety. Ensure they know to stay with their group and keep in touch with a responsible adult who can keep track of their whereabouts. Make sure everyone’s phones are charged and set a specific time when kids should be back home.
Apps like Find My Friends and Life360 that allow you to track the whereabouts of your loved ones with your phone are another easy way to keep tabs on where older kids are at. If your child doesn’t have their own phone, you can also use a tracker, like an AirTag, which will still do the trick.
Stay in Safe Areas
Before heading out for the night, do a little recon to ensure you’re trick-or-treating in safe, well-lit neighborhoods. Make sure any kids that are going out without an adult are aware of their boundaries and always stay on main roads. Taking shortcuts through yards and alleys is almost always a bad idea, especially on Halloween night.
Perhaps one of the most important Halloween safety tips is to trust your instincts. If something feels off, it probably is. At the very least, it’s not worth the risk.
Watch for Traffic
Sadly, one of the deadliest days of the year for pedestrians is October 31.
With the combination of increased drunk driving, low visibility, and tons of kids on the roads, children are twice as likely to be struck and killed by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year, according to the National Safety Council.
For that reason, it’s always best to stay on sidewalks whenever possible. Pay attention, and remind kids not to run into streets or crosswalks without looking first. Hold small children’s hands when crossing streets, and consider carrying a flashlight or glow sticks so motorists can see you.
Go to Creepy Houses… But Not Too Creepy
We get it; the creepier, the better on Halloween.
Houses with tons of decorations, a scary atmosphere, and costumed candy passers are the best to hit up on your trick or treat rounds. The kind of creepy houses we’re talking about here are a little different.
Never allow your kids to approach a house that doesn't have adequate lighting. Not only are dark houses a sign that nobody is home, but with low visibility, you can’t see who or what could be lurking around the corner. A dark house may also mean that its residents don’t want to be disturbed for whatever reason, and bothering them is just not worth the risk.
And, finally, while we know it can be tempting, never enter a house for candy – even if they have those awesome full-sized candy bars.
Choose Costumes Wisely
Putting together the perfect costume is the best part of Halloween. That being said, it’s also important to consider safety before deciding what you or your children might wear.
The first thing to consider is any potential tripping hazards. Make sure costumes are easy to walk in and won’t trip your kids up. If you’re planning to incorporate a mask into the costume, make sure it’s one with good visibility.
When purchasing children’s costumes and wigs, look for flame-resistant items. After all, bonfires and candles are everywhere on Halloween, and poofy, flammable costumes are a recipe for disaster.
Finally, consider putting some sort of reflective strip on your child’s costume so drivers can see them. Glow sticks and flashlights work well for this, too!
Inspect Your Goodies
Many of us grew up hearing horror stories about razor blades and poison substances hidden in Halloween treats. While this is luckily a pretty rare occurrence, it’s still a good idea to inspect your child’s candy before they eat it.
Look for any candy with an open wrapper and toss it. Sadly, homemade goodies are also a no-go as you never know who made them and what could be inside. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Besides, your kids will likely have plenty of candy to keep them wired for the next month or so, so is tossing a few treats really such a bad thing?
Keep Your Possessions Secure
Crime rates spike on Halloween by as much as 50% in some cities, so it’s important to take necessary precautions to avoid becoming a victim of theft, drunk driving, or worse.
With so many people out and about in close proximity – and costumed no less – the risk of being pickpocketed is elevated on October 31. One of the best ways to protect yourself from theft is to use a minimalist wallet that’s small enough to fit in your front pocket where you can keep a better eye on it.
Our slim wallets here at GeoGrit are not only compact enough to be carried in your front pocket, but they’re also RFID blocking so you don’t have to worry about criminals with radio frequency scanners accessing your personal information by scanning your chipped credit cards or IDs.
Equally important is ensuring you don’t leave any valuables in a parked vehicle where a thief can see them, and make sure you secure your phone and keys as well.
Keep Your Yard Well-Lit
If you want to avoid the rampant vandalism that takes place on Halloween night each year, keeping your yard well-lit is your best bet.
Criminals and young vandals alike work best in dark areas where they’re unlikely to be seen. So, don’t give them what they want. Turn on your outdoor and indoor lights to indicate you’re home and see what’s happening on your property so mischief makers will pass you by.
Even if you’re not passing out candy, or aren’t going to be home, ignore your instinct to shutter your windows and turn off the lights so trick-or-treaters know to keep on moving.
Like it or not, the best way to keep criminals off your property is to illuminate your house and yard. And if you don’t want your doorbell being rung by eager, sugar-hyped kids all night, consider putting a sign that says you don’t have candy.
Invest in Security Cameras
If you already have security cameras at your house, we don’t need to tell you how handy they can be.
Whether you have a full security setup or just a doorbell with a camera, these great tools will help you keep an eye on your property so you know who’s coming and going, which is a great way to ensure a safe Halloween.
Many systems will even alert you when there is someone in your yard or at your front door so you can check the camera, see who it is, and decide whether you want to open your door for them or not.
Park Your Car in the Right Spot
The number of vehicle thefts spikes on Halloween. If you want to keep your car safe from theft and vandalism, you have to park it in the right place.
A garage is the best place to park your car. If you don’t have one, try to park in a driveway or parking space that’s well-lit and in view of your house so you can keep an eye on it.
Know When to Call it a Night
Just because you want to pass out candy doesn’t mean you have to do so all night. In fact, it’s a good idea to stop opening your door for strangers around 9-10 p.m., as most kids will be done trick-or-treating by then anyway.
If you decide to keep the party going for longer, use your best judgment. Utilize your peephole or doorbell camera to make sure whoever is at your door is actually a tiny superhero looking for candy and not a criminal trying to take advantage of you.
Fun and spooky as it may be, Halloween is also a dangerous time to be out and about. With crime rates spiking in the days surrounding October 31, learning how to stay safe during Halloween is critical no matter how you plan to celebrate the holiday.
Choosing good costumes and safe trick-or-treating routes as well as staying in groups and protecting your property from theft or vandalism, are all important considerations for ensuring a fun and safe Halloween for all.If you’re looking for a durable, RFID-blocking, minimalist wallet, check out our selection here. All of our products are designed, manufactured, and shipped in America and are backed by our 30-day risk-free trial and lifetime guarantee. To learn more about GeoGrit, read our story here.