Iowa Poison Control Center
24 Hours / 7 Days a Week 1.800.222.1222

Halloween Safety

Halloween should be a fun time for children. However, there is potential for danger. Listed below are Halloween safety tips for adults with young children.

Potential Halloween Exposures

Treats

  • An adult should check all treats before they are eaten. Explain why this is important to children.
  • Only eat treats in original, unopened wrappers. Throw away candy if wrappers are faded, have holes or tears, or if the candy has been unwrapped.
  • Check fruit and homemade treats for punctures or contamination. Allow your child to eat such items only if from someone you know and trust.
  • Some treats, especially chocolate, can be poisonous to pets.
  • Consider giving non-edible treats such as stickers, pencil sharpeners, pencils, and magnets.

Glow Sticks

Glow sticks and necklaces are popular to help illuminate at night during Halloween. The active ingredient is Dibutyl Phthalate. In small amounts it is very safe. The sticks and necklaces occasionally break or children chew them open. If the contents get on the skin, it can cause irritation and dermatitis. If the contents come into contact with the eyes it can cause severe irritation and cause the eyes to water. Oral ingestion of the contents can cause nausea and burning.

Dry Ice

When swallowed, oral burns (actually tissue destruction from freezing) may occur. Immediate dilution is recommended. Having dry ice in punch is not a problem as long as no ice is swallowed. Direct contact with the skin can also cause tissue damage. Wash skin immediately with lukewarm water. If exposure occurs call the poison center

Makeup

Look for non-toxic designations when choosing Halloween makeup. Other products may contain emollient laxatives, talc or hydrocarbons, which can cause problems. If any makeup is swallowed, treatment depends on amount ingested, ingredients and symptoms.


Other Halloween Safety Tips

Trick-or-treating

  • Feed children before trick-or-treating and give them some candy from home while trick- or-treating to avoid the temptation to eat from their bags.
  • Use smaller trick-or-treat bags to decrease the urge to get more candy.
  • Carry a flashlight or glow sticks, wear reflective clothing or tape, and watch for cars. Try to finish before dark.
  • An adult should accompany young children, and visits should be limited to familiar well-lit homes.
  • Avoid barking dogs or other upset animals.

Costumes

  • Wear flame-retardant costumes that are roomy enough to allow a child to dress warmly but not too big that children may trip or brush against a flame.
  • Choose light colored costumes or use reflective tape to make children more visible.
  • Consider using makeup instead of a mask to allow unobstructed vision. All masks, wigs and beards should fit securely, allowing for full vision.
  • Face paints or makeup should be make of nontoxic material. Wash with soap and water if an allergic reaction develops.
  • Make sure accessories, such as swords, are made of soft or flexible material.

Jack O' Lanterns

  • Children can draw a face on a pumpkin or scrape out the contents, but an adult should do the carving.
  • Keep jack o' lanterns away from doorsteps and landings where costumes may brush against the flame.
  • Indoor lanterns should be kept away from curtains, decorations or other furnishings.
  • Glow sticks are a safe alternative to candles.
© 2017 IPCC. All Rights Reserved.