Tips for a safe (and spooky) Halloween
October 19, 2023 by Keely Knopp
Halloween may be a horror-themed holiday, but the fun stops when fright forgoes fiction. In real life, scary situations are seldom enjoyable — only from the comfort of a couch, in the form of a spooky story or film. This Halloween, Mercy Urgent Care wants you to keep your tricks playful and your treats sweet, with more BOO! and less boo-hoo-hoo. Brush up on these holiday tips and reminders and stay safe on All Hallow’s Eve!
- Choose makeup over masks. Masks may be scary, but they’re even better at obscuring vision. Instead of opting for a mask this Halloween, get creative with makeup instead.
- That said, test for potential allergies. Make sure all Halloween makeup is nontoxic and patch-test a small area of skin with the makeup/paint before beginning a full application.
- Get the right size. Have children try on their costumes ahead of time to check the size and length — and alter, if necessary, to avoid tripping. Excess fabric also poses a fire hazard if children get too close to an open flame (such as those inside a jack-o-lantern).
- Comfortable shoes are a must. Walking around all night in brand-new or ill-fitting shoes is a recipe for blistered feet — and no one wants to be stranded, in pain, blocks from home. If new shoes are necessary, break them in far in advance of Halloween night.
- Say “no” to decorative lenses. Colorful and creepy contact lenses may look neat in theory, but nonprescription lenses are both dangerous and illegal and can cause pain, inflammation, infections — and can even lead to permanent vision loss.
- Mix in some reflective gear. Adorning costumes or candy bags with reflective strips or stickers greatly improves a child’s (or adult’s) visibility in the dark. Tapes and strips are often available in a full spectrum of colors and, especially with creative placement, they can be used as part of a costume.
- Small children and sharp objects don’t mix. Instead of letting a young child carve his or her own pumpkin, let them be the artist, drawing a face or stencil in marker for an adult to carve out.
- Opt for alternatives to an open flame. Instead of lighting candles this Halloween, consider using a battery-operated LED or glow stick to light your pumpkin. If you must have a real flame, votive candles are the safest option. However, make sure all candlelit pumpkins are placed on a sturdy surface away from paths, porches and flammable materials — and out of reach of children or pets.
Prepare Your Home
- Remove any unnecessary obstacles from yards or paths. Your garden hose, porch toys, bikes and unlit lawn decorations likely won’t be visible to excited trick-or-treaters, and should be put away prior to dusk on Halloween.
- Steep steps or hidden roots? If your yard or home has any natural (or decorative) obstacles that visitors may not see, make sure these areas are well-lit or off-limits to guests.
- Sweep up leaves. While dry piles of leaves may be fun to crunch, wet leaves can make any deck, path or porch a slippery nightmare. Western North Carolina is known for both its fall leaves and its wet weather, so avoid the hazard by sweeping leaves before trick-or-treaters pop by.
- You love your pet, but others might not. Admittedly, Halloween is a nightmare for dogs. Even if Fido is happy to have visitors, he should be restrained and away from the porch/door to avoid scaring, jumping on or biting visitors in excitement. Additionally, with the increased foot traffic (and regular traffic), outdoor cats should become indoor cats for the evening.
Trick or Treaters
- Follow proper safety rules. Halloween is no time to ignore the rules of the road. In fact, trick-or-treaters should be extra cautious on this often-chaotic night. That means:
- Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
- Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
- Pocket your electronic devices — and don’t use earbuds or headphones. Keep your head up, eyes open and listen for potential danger. (Teenagers: How many horror movies begin with loud music and an oblivious listener?)
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths, and, where sidewalks aren’t an option, walk along the edge of the road while facing traffic.
- Stay in groups or with a responsible adult. Young children should always be accompanied by a parent or other trusted adult. If a group of children asks to walk ahead, make sure they all stay as a group.
- Agree on a return time. If older children are going alone, review their route and agree on a specific time for them to return home. If an older child has a cell phone, make sure it is fully charged in case of emergency.
- Slow down and be on high alert. Despite parents’ best efforts, Halloween excitement may cause children to forget basic safety — or move in unpredictable ways. Use extra caution after 5:30 p.m. in residential neighborhoods, while entering or exiting driveways, around curves and when making turns.
- Eliminate in-car distractions. Turn down the radio, turn off the interior lights and make a passenger pick the playlist. Halloween is one night of the year where concentration on the road is key.
- Let an experienced driver take the wheel. Newly licensed? Have a parent drive you to that party across town. Inexperienced drivers may not be prepared to make quick and safe decisions behind the wheel, and both pedestrians and other drivers pose a hazard on Halloween.
All eight Mercy Urgent Care locations will be open regular hours on Halloween.