Pediatric Emergency Physician offers tips for safe Halloween

Amy Blasen, D.O., Director of Pediatric Emergency Services

Published: Oct. 19, 2018

LANSING, MI – It’s the spooky season and young and old are excited about Halloween, but let’s not forget some basic safety tips, says Amy Blasen, D.O., Director of Pediatric Emergency Services at Sparrow’s Granger Pediatric Emergency Department.

Dr. Blasen put together the following pointers based on recommendations from the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Pre-holiday tips:

  • If children are going to “carve” pumpkins they should draw what they want on the pumpkin with a marker and let a parent do the carving.
  • Rather than using a candle to light the pumpkin, consider a glowstick or a battery-operated flashlight.

Preparing for the night:

  • Consider non-candy purchases for giveaways such as crayons, coloring books, small stuffed animals, pencils, etc.
  • Feeding your child a healthy meal prior to trick or treating will avoid overindulgence.
  • WAIT until your child is home to sort and carefully check all treats. Any opened or possibly tampered-with item should be thrown away. Attempt to limit intake in the following weeks after Halloween.
  • Halloween can be very difficult for children with allergies. Be sure to read all of the ingredients in the candy and remember many treats have the most common food allergens in them such as egg, nuts, soy, milk or wheat. If there are no ingredients on the package do not let your child try it.
  • Teach your child to politely say “no” to any homemade treats, fruits or veggies.
  • Parents should double check that their outside lighting is working.
  • Parents should remove any items that children could trip on (toys, lawn decorations).

Dressing up:

  • When shopping for costumes, make sure all costumes and accessories are labelled clearly as flame resistant. Be cautious of costumes that have ties around the neck (capes). Velcro is preferred.
  • Plan all costumes to be bright and consider adding reflective tape for greater visibility.
  • Because decorative hats and masks can sometimes limit eyesight, consider choosing non-toxic makeup (after testing on a small area of skin to ensure no reaction).
  • If an accessory is an object (sword, cane, etc.) check to be sure it’s not sharp as a child may inadvertently hurt themselves if they trip.

The main event:

  • A parent or responsible caregiver should accompany children at all times.
  • If you have older children who want to go with friends, make sure you know and approve of their exact route, they stay with their group, have flashlights with new batteries and warn them to NOT go to houses that have no porch lighting. Remind them of the importance of emergency calls (911) if needed.
  • Remain on well-lit streets with sidewalks, if possible. If no sidewalks, walk at the far edge of the road facing traffic.
  • Only cross a street where there are approved crosswalks or as a group; do not cross between parked cars or driveways. Never assume the right of way.
  • Never enter a home or a vehicle for a “treat.”

Most important – have fun!

The Granger Pediatric Emergency Department is the mid-Michigan region’s first and only designed, equipped and staffed only to meet the needs of children up to age 18. From smaller equipment to colorful décor designed to reduce anxiety, every aspect of Sparrow’s Pediatric ED is tailored for the care and comfort of kids. Learn more at

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