Do your part to make Halloween fun and safe for all with tips from Dartmouth Health Children’s

Image of children trick-or-treating in Halloween costumes at night

Costumes and creepy decorations are the ‘fun’ kind of scary we all love this time of year, but kids and parents shouldn’t have to fear cars on Halloween night.

James Esdon, Safe Kids New Hampshire

More children are injured by cars on Halloween than any other night of the year. Safe Kids New Hampshire, a program of Dartmouth Health Children’s, urges parents to prepare their children to walk safely and remind drivers to be particularly alert this Halloween. With a few tips, children can stay safe while out trick-or-treating.

“Costumes and creepy decorations are the ‘fun’ kind of scary we all love this time of year, but kids and parents shouldn’t have to fear cars on Halloween night,” said James Esdon, coordinator of Safe Kids New Hampshire. “Drivers can do their part to ensure it’s a great night for all by being extra vigilant behind the wheel during trick-or-treat hours.”

Top safety tips for kids:

  • Costumes can be both creative and safe. The most important thing is to make sure you can be seen by drivers. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors. Halloween masks can obstruct your vision, so choose non-toxic face paint and makeup whenever possible. Carry glow sticks or flashlights so you can see better, as well as be seen by drivers. Make sure costumes are the right size to prevent trips and falls
  • Cross the street safely at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
  • Think about the walk, not the talk. Stay off the phone!
  • Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Slow down and stay alert. Watch out for cars that are turning or backing up and don't dart out into the street or cross in between parked cars.
  • Join children 12 and under for trick-or-treating fun.
  • When using a stroller or wagon, consider adding reflective and high-visibility decorations. Something as simple as aluminum foil can help with visibility.

Top safety tips for drivers:

  • Slow down in residential neighborhoods. Remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
  • Be especially alert and take extra time to look for children at intersections, on medians and on curbs. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
  • Reduce any distractions inside your car, such as talking on the phone or eating, so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

“Many businesses open their doors to children for Halloween, so both caregivers and drivers should be especially cautious when vehicles are moving in parking lots,” Esdon said. “Avoid any and all distractions for both children and drivers.”

For more tips on how to help kids become safer pedestrians on Halloween, and throughout the year, visit

About Dartmouth Health Children's

Dartmouth Health Children's is the only comprehensive pediatric healthcare system in the region. Fully integrated in Dartmouth Health and anchored for more than 30 years by Children's Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (CHaD)—in Lebanon, NH—Dartmouth Health Children's promotes health, advances knowledge, and delivers the best patient and family-centered care for infants, children, and adolescents across New Hampshire and Vermont. Dartmouth Health Children's conducts groundbreaking research and educates the next generations of health professionals as the primary pediatric partner of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. Highly skilled and collaborative child health professionals provide care in multiple settings across the region. Outpatient specialty visits and same-day surgery services are available at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (CHaD) and Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinics Manchester. Primary care appointments in general pediatrics are available at Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinics in Bedford, Concord, Lebanon, Manchester and Nashua, NH and Bennington, VT; as well as at Dartmouth Health members: Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital, Cheshire Medical Center, New London Hospital and Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center.