Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Don't trick-or-treat at dark houses, other Halloween night tips

Posted October 27, 2015

Halloween candy

Let's all make a pact this year: If you see a house that doesn't have its front porch light on (or some dark, but elaborate Halloween display that indicates they are open for costumed visitors), don't encourage your kids to walk up to the front door and ring the door bell.

For real, people!

In the last few years, we've had several groups of trick-or-treaters, often school-aged kids with adults, knock on our door well after 9 p.m., once my own kids are tucked into bed, asking for candy, despite the fact that our house was completely dark, not even the pumpkins lit. We were out of candy!

My No. 1 rule for Halloween is this: If the house is dark, don't go up!

Of course, there are many more important Halloween safety tips and rules to make sure that Oct. 31 is all fun. Wake Forest always shares some great Halloween safety tips each year. They cover everything from what not to wear for trick-or-treating to pumpkin carving tips and more.

I thought I'd share a few of them as we all gear up for the biggest candy-getting night of the year, which is just a few days away! (And if you're wondering when to actually go out trick-or-treating, we cover that too).

Here are some of the tips. Wake Forest's website lists them all. I'll also add that I love the teal pumpkin project, which encourages those with allergen-free treat options to display a teal pumpkin so kids with allergies will know there is something for them.


  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure shoes fit well and costumes are short enough to prevent tripping or entanglement. Consider adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.
  • Remind older children to call 9-1-1 if they have an emergency or become lost. If you have a cellular phone, have your child bring it along so you can communicate with each other, if necessary.

Carving pumpkins

  • Never allow small children (under age 12) to carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers, and then parents can do the cutting.
  • Tea-light candles with aluminum liners are safest for candle-lit pumpkins.

Safe hunts

  • Plan and review with your children a route that is acceptable to you. This way, you can check on their progress by car if you begin to worry that they've been gone too long, or if inclement weather hits, and they need a ride home.
  • Agree on a specific time when trick-or-treaters must return home, and have your children wear wristwatches so they can keep track of time.
  • Remember to drive slowly and cautiously through neighborhoods on Halloween and remind your neighbors, friends and family to do the same.


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