Adam Pickens, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Halloween is an opportunity to provide nutritious snacks, get physical activity and focus on safety. Here are a few tips for parents as they prepare to celebrate the holiday with their children.

“There are several steps we can take as a parent to help ensure our children have a safe Halloween, such as purchasing fire retardant costumes, affixing pieces of reflective tape to the front and back of the costume or treat container to make children more visible to passing cars, or just making sure the costumes fit well to prevent tripping hazards or vision problems,” says Adam Pickens, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health.

“Never allow your child to trick-or-treat alone but rather with an adult or group, walking on sidewalks or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe,” Dr. Pickens continues. “Holding a flashlight while trick-or-treating helps your child see where to walk and see others.”

Parents should also instruct children to eat only factory-wrapped treats, avoiding homemade treats unless you know the cook well. And never enter a stranger’s home.

As motorists, we also can do our part to contribute, according to Dr. Pickens.

“Be sure to watch for children running out from between parked cars, and always enter and exit driveways carefully, particularly at twilight hours when foot traffic for smaller children is likely to be high,” he says.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell