October 29, 1996
PROTECT YOUR TRICK-OR-TREATERSSPRINGFIELD, IL -- Ghosts,
goblins and other creatures that go bump in the night make Halloween a favorite
childhood holiday. To make sure it is a safe holiday, parents need to remember
some important rules.
"Halloween can be one of the most dangerous nights of the year for
young children," says Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director.
"It is important for parents and other caregivers not only to outfit
children in safe costumes but to review important safety tips with children
before they go trick-or-treating."
The majority of injuries that occur during Halloween are caused by falls,
contact with motor vehicles and burns. Follow these safety suggestions for a
- Falls. Make sure costumes are short enough to prevent
tripping and that shoes fit properly. Hats should fit securely so they do not
obstruct vision. Try using face paint or cosmetics rather than a mask, which
can obstruct a child's vision. If a child does wear a mask, parents should be
sure that it fits securely and that the eye holes are large enough for full
vision. Props, such as knives or swords, should be flexible. Children should
carry a flashlight and should be instructed to stay on sidewalks at all times.
- Pedestrian injuries. Make sure children can be seen by
dressing them in light or bright colored costumes or decorating costumes with
reflective tape. Remind children to walk from house to house, to stop at all
corners, to cross streets only at intersections and crosswalks, to check all
directions for traffic and to never dart into a street from between parked
- Burns. Look for "flame resistant" labels on
costumes, masks, beards and wigs. Use fire resistant material when making
costumes. Avoid costumes made of flimsy material and outfits with big, baggy
sleeves or billowing skirts.
Other general safety rules to follow for the Halloween holiday include --
- Trick-or-treaters should travel in groups. Children younger than 10 years
of age should always be accompanied by an adult or an older sibling.
- Attach the name, address and phone number (including area code) to the
clothes of children younger than 12 years of age. Also, teach children their
phone number and make sure they have change to call home if a problem arises.
- Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along a
pre-established route and to stop only at homes with porch or outside lights
on. Set a time for children to return home.
- Keep steps, lawns and porches clear of obstacles and keep jack-o-lanterns
lit with candles away from landings or doorsteps where costumes might brush
against the flame.
- Tell children to bring treats home before eating them. Parents should check
treats for possible tampering. Be careful with fruit; inspect the surface
closely for punctures or holes and cut it open before allowing a child to eat
- Make it clear that children never should enter a home or an apartment
building unless accompanied by an adult.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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