Tips for a safe and happy Halloween

Jack-o-lanterns, lit up at night

Consider these tips for a safe night filled with fun, not fright

We’re all familiar with the annual reminders from the dentist about the dangers of eating too much sugar at Halloween, but there are other reminders you should keep in mind to enjoy a safe and happy night.

Traditional Halloween activities like jack-o-lanterns, fireworks and trick-or-treating are great, but a few key safety tips will help you and your little ones avoid potential safety hazards.

Check out a few important tips to make this year’s celebration a great one:

Start with a safe costume

The National Fire Prevention Association offers up a wide range of safety tips.

  • One of their first reminders is to choose costumes and fabric that won’t easily ignite from candles (popular for jack-o-lanterns) and other heat sources.
  • They recommend avoiding billowing or long trailing fabric.
  • If your child is wearing a mask, wig, or headpiece, make sure that it doesn’t obstruct their vision.

Choose LED lights or glowstick for pumpkins, costumes

It wouldn’t be Halloween without a grinning jack-o-lantern, but open flames outdoors can be dangerous.

  • If you can, choose a battery-operated candle, LED battery-powered bulb or even a glowstick to light your lantern.
  • The same goes for costumes. Giving your child a glowstick or flashlight to carry will help them be seen more easily by other pedestrians and motorists, and is a much safer choice than a candle.

If you choose to use a real candle in your pumpkin, keep children far away when the candle is being lit.

  • The National Fire Prevention Association recommends using long fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter to light the candle.
  • Place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
  • Remember to extinguish your candle completely when trick-or-treating is done.

Use fireworks with care, and keep kids away

Many families and communities choose to celebrate Halloween with fireworks. The city of Vancouver offers comprehensive tips for using fireworks safely

Some of their tips include:

  • Always store fireworks in a, cool, dry place
  • Keep fireworks away from children.
  • Check the instructions for special handling directions.
  • Do not drop fireworks.
  • Do not carry fireworks in your pockets.
  • Never smoke while handling fireworks
  • Do not let children handle fireworks. Even sparklers burn at very high temperatures and can easily ignite clothing.

Read the city of Vancouver’s full list of safety tips, including transporting your fireworks safely and cleaning up afterwards.

Be sure to check first whether your community allows fireworks at all; many communities including Surrey, Richmond and North Vancouver have outright bans on using fireworks.

Keep decorations away from flames and candles

Many popular Halloween decorations like scarecrows and cobwebs are made of highly flammable materials that experts say pose a real risk. To keep your décor from causing unwanted damage, consider these tips:

  • Avoid decorating with candles or torch lights.
  • Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
  • Purchase and install working smoke alarms, and practice home escape plans.
  • Ensure that all children in your home know the location of the exits should an emergency arise

More safety tips