Halloween Safety Tips from the Police

Here are some tips from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Coastside Patrol Bureau to make the trick-or-treating experience safer for your kids.

A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds. If you are driving, remember to slow below the speed limit when driving in residential areas, as excited children whose vision may be obscured by masks could dart into traffic. And did you know that glow sticks have saved lives on Halloween?

Here are some more tips and reminders sent by San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Coastside Patrol Bureau for a trouble-free night of trick-or-treating:


  • Purchase several connectable “glow sticks” to wear as necklaces and bracelets.
  • Make sure kids wear light colors and/or put reflective tape on their clothing.
  • Keep costumes a short length to prevent trips, falls, and other bumps in the night.
  • Use make-up instead of masks if possible.  Masks are hot and uncomfortable and obstruct vision.
  • Make sure the kids wear flame retardant costumes so burning jack-o-lanterns don’t ignite them.
  • Create a map of a safe trick-or-treating route and set a time limit for your kids to return home.



  • Carry a flashlight and always keep a safe distance from moving cars.
  • Cross at street corners, NOT diagonally across an intersection and NEVER between parked cars!
  • Look in ALL directions before crossing; obey all traffic signals; walk and NEVER run.
  • Wear a glow stick necklace and wear glow stick bracelets – These glow sticks have saved lives.
  • Do not take shortcuts through back yards, alleys or parks.  Only visit homes with porch lights on.
  • Don’t go inside anyone’s home; instead remain on the porch at all times.
  • Don’t accept rides from cars with strangers.
  • Don’t eat any treats until your parents have inspected them.
  • Discard any homemade or unwrapped treats.



  • Clear all outdoor obstructions such as ladders, hoses, and toys from your property and walkway.
  • Welcome trick-or-treaters with your porch lights and all exterior lights turned on early.
  • Make sure your “trick-or-treat” rules are clear to your children BEFORE they leave the house.
  • Try to “trick or treat” while it is still light outside.
  • Carry a flashlight and use a powerful flashlight if at all possible – it will command attention better.
  • Parents should always accompany young children while trick or treating.
  • Older kids should “trick-or-treat” with friends that are known and familiar to parents.
  • Trick or treaters should be in groups so they aren’t a tempting target for real-life goblins.



  • Halloween is one of the nation’s MOST DANGEROUS nights to drive a car.  Use extreme caution.
  • Consider driving at least five miles per hour UNDER the speed LIMIT in residential areas.
  • Accept that you will be late to your destination; Call them, excuse yourself and drive extra slow.



  • Costumes and special effects can be stressful on pets – they can misunderstand Halloween time.
  • Electrical cords from special effects make tempting chew toys, or animals may become frightened of the “monsters.”  Take pets into a garage to calm their curiosity and cool their protective instincts.
  • Halloween treats can be deadly to dogs and cats.  Shiny foil wraps attract animals and can cause intestinal distress.  Chocolate, (especially dark) contain theobromine, a stimulant for humans, but causes shaking, seizures, heart issues and death for dogs. Sugar free candy and gum with Xylitol can cause liver damage, blood pressure drop and death. One gram of Xylitol can require veterinary treatment for a 22 pound dog. Raisins & grapes also can also have a poisonous effect and have caused kidney failure in dogs. Keep these dangerous goodies away from pets!

Get more information on the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office at www. SMCSHERIFF.com


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