Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Keeps the Fear Out of Halloween for Families by Offering Safety Tips

October 24, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - October 24, 2012 - Children and adults both enjoy the Halloween holiday, but parents especially need to be aware that it can be one of the most dangerous nights of the year for young children who are out trick-or-treating.Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is offering tips for families to make sure all of our trick-or-treaters, young and old, enjoy their night out and gather their goodies safely this year.  

Vehicles pose one of the greatest dangers during the holiday, so Children’s Hospital injury prevention experts urge drivers to be on higher alert the weekend before and the night of Halloween, because kids will be heading outside, excited to get treats, and less likely to pay attention to traffic. Parents always need to supervise younger children during their trick-or-treating rounds, stay in familiar neighborhoods, and use safe pedestrian behaviors themselves as a good example to children. They need to instruct children to stick to sidewalks and cross walks to avoid any potential dangers and to always walk with a flashlight. While some kids are older and don’t need parental supervision, make sure they go out with a group of friends and never alone.

“Parents need to be extremely cautious and teach their children about pedestrian safety before they go out trick-or-treating,” said Barbara Gaines, M.D., director of the Benedum Pediatric Trauma Program at Children’s Hospital. “Kids are so overly excited to be dressed up in their costumes and have a fun night with their friends that they may not be paying attention to their surroundings, which can ultimately lead to an injury or even a trip to the emergency room.”

In addition to pedestrian safety this Halloween, parents and kids also should be careful when choosing a costume. To avoid trips and falls, costumes should not be long enough to tangle up in children’s feet. Also, costumes should have some type of reflective material or kids should wear reflective bands or pins so they are more visible to drivers in the dark. Masks that cover the face are a hazard for tripping or walking and should not have strings or cords hanging off of the costume that could potentially be a strangulation hazard.

Most communities have become more attentive about having their local police, fire and EMS departments on the streets during trick-or-treating to watch out for kids. If your community does not do this, this could be a good year to start to create more safety measures for children.

Children’s also offers some additional safety tips for parents during Halloween:

  • Instruct children not to eat any treats until they get home and have them checked by an adult. Make sure the candy is not homemade and also throw out unwrapped treats or anything that looks like it may have been opened or tampered with.
  • If using face paint as part of the costume, make sure that the labels say “made with U.S.-approved colored additives,” “laboratory tested,” “non-toxic,” or “meets federal standards for cosmetics.”
  • Respect the designated trick-or-treating times in your neighborhood area – whether it be during the weekend or on Wednesday night, Oct. 31.

For more information and safety tips for the Halloween holiday, please visit

Andrea Kunicky, 412-692-6254,
Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919,