October 28, 2021

Tips for a spooky and safe Halloween

Vanderbilt experts offer multiple tips to help keep trick or treaters safe this Halloween.


Creating the biggest scare is a typical goal for Halloween.

But safety continues to be the No. 1 objective for trick or treaters.

“Safety has always been the most important message during Halloween,” said Joseph Gigante, MD, professor of Pediatrics at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. “We want families to safely enjoy this time. This year is a different scenario than 2020. With more adults and some children vaccinated, it may provide a bit more peace of mind for some families.”

Gigante said Halloween is all about a family’s risk tolerance. If there is anxiety and fear associated with trick or treating and other activities due to COVID-19, it’s best to opt out of events.

“Families need to make the best decision for their households. It’s been more than 18 months that we have been living under strict pandemic guidelines. While we are seeing a decrease in positivity here, not every community is.”

Gigante said there are many things parents and children can do to stay safe on this spooky holiday:

  • Limit exposure to crowds and indoor gatherings.
  • Host outdoor activities.
  • Masking, social distancing and hand hygiene continue to be key.
  • Individually wrap candy and treats for trick or treaters to avoid lots of hands in candy buckets.
  • Have hand sanitizer available.
  • Carry glow sticks or flashlights and use reflective tape or stickers on costumes and bags to help drivers see children.
  • Accompany children who are younger than 12 years old.
  • Remind children to cross the street at corners and crosswalks.
  • Make sure costumes are the right size for children to prevent tripping and falls.
  • Choose face paint instead of masks that can limit a child’s vision.

“It is probably a little bit safer this year to take part in trick or treating,” said Gigante. “While we are NOT at the pre-COVID level, we are slowly inching closer. Everyone still needs to be cautious this Halloween season.”

To learn more injury prevention tips visit https://www.vumc.org/injuryprevention/safety-topics.