Witching You a Safe and Happy Halloween

Pumpkin Patch with Dog by Shannon McClain (CC BY 2.0)

Halloween is full of tricks, treats, ghoulish games, frightening frocks, cute costumes, glowing Jack O’ Lanterns, pumpkin packed parties and of course, spookiness! Unfortunately, all of the festive fall fun has dangers lurking. Whether you are a parent of two-legged loved ones or four-legged furry loved ones, it is critical to be aware of the true goblins hiding behind all the ghostly fun. I called upon experts,  Boo Boo Busters and Dr. Anthony George, who have simple tips for a safe, scare-free Halloween to keep your children and pets safe.

Tips For the Kids

Beware of choking hazards

halloween by sethstoll (CC BY-SA 2.0)
halloween by sethstoll (CC BY-SA 2.0)

As a good rule of thumb, a choking hazard is anything that can pass through a cardboard toilet paper roll holder unobstructed. Look closely at all the items that you are putting out on display. From bats and ghosts to the pumpkins you roast. Hazards lurk everywhere!

Be Careful Carving Pumpkins

Remember to only use child safe cutting tools while carving pumpkins, even as an adult. Kids learn by watching you, so if you use real knives know they will want to do the same. As soon as you turn around to grab something you forgot… little hands wander.

Safe Halloween Lights

Halloween 2011 by Dru Bloomfield - At Home in Scottsdale (CC BY 2.0)
Halloween 2011 by Dru Bloomfield – At Home in Scottsdale (CC BY 2.0)

Look for Halloween light strings that have tamper resistant bulbs that can’t be removed easily and remember cords pose a strangulation hazard. All cords should be kept short, out of a pathway and tight. Take the excess cord and bind it up with a zip tie. Make sure the cord can’t be made into a loop that can end up around a child’s neck.

Shine Bright Like a Diamond

Make sure your child’s Halloween costume is visible or is equipped with something that makes them visible, especially at night. Glow sticks are great and kids love them, but remember, never hang anything around their little necks unless you are using a child safe breakaway lanyard. A couple glow sticks secured to shoes can be seen from a long way away. Flashlights are a good eye catcher as well as fun.

Candy Alert!

The Kids' Haul by The Lamb Family (CC BY-SA 2.0)
The Kids’ Haul by The Lamb Family (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Remember to make sure you go through and check all the candy you are keeping. The candy should be in name brand with sealed packages. For candy bars, be sure you cut them into small pieces that are easy to chew. This also helps to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with. Unfortunately, ghouls are sometimes disguised as regular people. No candy treats, until Mom or Dad has taken a good long look at the loot!

Tips For Our Furry Friends

Pet Costumes

Boo The Bat Pug by DaPuglet (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Boo The Bat Pug by DaPuglet (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Yes, your pet looks absolutely adorable in that costume! Keep in mind, your fuzzy family member might not be as thrilled with the outfit as you are. Feel free to get an amazing photo, but respect the fact that your pet may want to get out of those duds as soon as possible. Make sure the outfit is comfortable, and pay special attention to straps that may impinge upon the neck and areas where the extremities meet the body. Never leave a pet unaccompanied in a costume to avoid any “wardrobe malfunctions!”

No Chocolate for Pooch

No chocolate!  Most people know chocolate is toxic for their pets. Chocolate contains methyl xanthine, which can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from stomach upset to tremors, hypothermia and seizures. At high doses, chocolate can lead to collapse and even death. Generally speaking, the darker and more concentrated the chocolate, the more dangerous it can be. There are helpful charts available (for instance on petMD.com) that can tell you what doses are dangerous for your pooch. If in doubt, it is always best to contact your veterinarian to see if immediate treatment is needed.

Sugar-Free Doesn’t Mean Safer

First Pumpkin by nwriggs (CC BY-ND 2.0)
First Pumpkin by nwriggs (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found commonly in sugar-free gum as well as other products, can be extremely toxic to dogs. When ingested, it can cause a significant release of insulin, which can lead to extremely low blood sugars. At high doses, it can also lead to liver failure. If your pup has ingested this substance, always contact your veterinarian immediately; your pet may need treatment and supportive care.

Safety First!

Burning Jack O’ Lanterns: Flames and fur aren’t a good combination. Just as you do for kids safety, consider replacing that Jack-O- Lantern candle with a flickering LED light.

For a full review of my Halloween Safety Tips check out the chart below and share it with your friends.


Do you know of any other Halloween tips not mentioned here to keeps our little ones safe? Comment your ideas below!