LiveSmart: Keeping the “Happy” in Happy Halloween – Think Safety When Preparing and Celebrating!

It’s time for jack-o-lanterns and trick-or-treating! At St. Peter’s Health Partners, we want the costumes to be the only scary part of your child’s holiday fun.

Carving the Pumpkin
It’s best to have adults do the actual carving – have the kids tackle the stencil drawing and ooey-gooey seed and pulp removal! The American Society for Surgery of the Hand recommends adults use a small pumpkin saw (sold in carving kits), cutting in small strokes with the blade facing away from the body. Larger blades, like a carving knife, can get stuck in the pumpkin’s thick rind and cause injuries when forcefully pulled out.

Once the carving is done, consider using glow sticks or electric candles instead of burning candles to safely turn your pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern.

Picking a Costume
Now that the porch is decorated, it’s time to choose a costume. Keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Be sure all costumes, wigs, and accessories are “fire-resistant,” especially if your child will be around fire pits at a party.
  • Do NOT use temporary Halloween contacts sold in stores without a prescription; they are illegal and can cause damage to the eyes.
  • Test makeup in a small area a day or so early to make sure there is no skin reaction of rash, redness, or swelling, indicating an allergy.
  • Consider using reflective tape on costumes and trick-or-treat bags.

Trick or Treat!
It’s the big night! According to, injuries to walking children are more common on Halloween than any other night of the year. There are things you can do to help keep them safe:

  • Give kids a flashlight or glow stick to carry.
  • Use non-toxic face paint or makeup instead of masks so their vision isn’t obstructed.
  • Choose costumes that fit properly so they don’t trip.
  • Make sure they aren’t looking down at phones and distracted when walking.
  • Stress the importance of using sidewalks when possible or walking on the left edge of streets, facing traffic. Only cross at corners or crosswalks, not the middle of the road or from between parked cars.
  • Remove makeup before bed to prevent eye and skin irritation.

If you are passing out treats at your home, have the porch light on, make sure wet leaves and debris are removed from sidewalks, and clear the front yard of obstacles like toys, hoses, bicycles, etc. And don’t forget to keep dogs leashed/restrained to avoid dog bites.

Once home, it’s time to dump out the loot and inspect the candy! If your child has food allergies, check labels and remove items they cannot eat. Parents of young children should look for choking hazards like peanuts, gum, hard candies, etc. All candy should be checked to ensure it wasn’t tampered with.

We hope these tips are helpful and lead to a safe and spooktacular Halloween. If you or your child does suffer an injury, it’s important to know where you should go to receive treatment. If it is a life- or limb-threatening injury, you should call 9-1-1 or get to an emergency room immediately. If not, you can receive effective and more timely treatment at a local urgent care, or at your physician’s office. For more information, visit us at

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