Tips to stay safe this Halloween

Today’s guest bloggers are Eric Nguyen, a PharmD candidate at Temple University School of Pharmacy, and Blair Thornley, PharmD, CSPI, a pharmacist, and the public education coordinator at the Poison Control Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Trick-or-treating is every child’s favorite part of Halloween, and the reason why they often spend months thinking up the perfect costume for laughs or scares. As parents, however, we often worry about our children’s safety from the moment they step out the door, until the time they bring back their bounty of sweets.

To help put your mind at ease, we at the Poison Control Center have compiled some tips to keep the night from becoming a truly frightful experience.

Candy and treats:

  • Having a meal before going out can prevent binging on those sweet treats during and after the night. Have children wait until they are home to sort and check treats.
  • Everything should be kept in their original packaging or wrapping. Avoid homemade treats
  • Inspect the candy being given for any signs of tampering such as tears, pinholes, and discolorations. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.
  • Concerning young children, check all candy and edibles for choking hazards such as gum, small toys, and peanuts.
  • If you have pets, keep the candy and treats in a place out of reach. Chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs, and if eaten, can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.


  • Always test face makeup in a small area of the skin first (preferably the arm) to check for allergic reaction before applying it to the face.
  • Avoid decorating the face or body with products that aren’t intended for the skin
  • Always use non-toxic face paints, glues, and glitters and keep away from your eyes
  • Throw out any makeup that has a very bad smell; this could be a sign of contamination
  • Remind children not to chew on or break open glow sticks or any other glow in the dark products
    • While the liquid is considered minimally toxic in small amounts, it can cause skin irritation if broken open.
    • Swallowing glow stick liquid can cause nausea and irritation. Eyes are especially sensitive to glow stick liquid.
    • Never put these products in the microwave.
    • Make sure costume material is not flammable

General Safety tips

  • Always look both ways before crossing the street
  • Wear reflective tape or carry a flashlight. Both are even better!
  • Children should wear short costumes and well-fitting shoes to avoid tripping.
  • Avoid ill-fitting masks as vision can be blocked, face paint is preferred over masks.
  • Keep emergency contact and information on your child at all times

If you have any questions or if you or someone you know has been exposed to a potentially harmful substance, call the Poison Help line immediately 1-800-222-1222

Have a question for the Healthy Kids panel? Ask it here. Read more from the Healthy Kids blog »