The New York State’s Division of Consumer Protection and the New York State Department of Health continue to urge caution to parents and children during this year’s Halloween celebrations to help stay safe from variants of COVID-19. Halloween spooktacular traditions may still look different this year, but there are basic tips everyone can follow to allow children and families to have fun and be safe.
Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “The Halloween traditions bring community gatherings and family fun, but the trick is that we must be aware of the lingering COVID-19 concerns and be kind to others while celebrating. Trick-or-treating is a wonderful celebration of Halloween, and we urge everyone to be mindful and to protect our children by following some tips to ensure an enjoyable and safe experience for all.”
State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “We encourage families and all New Yorkers to do everything they can to make trick-or-treating this Halloween safe as well as fun. Please be considerate of each other and follow the practices that help stop the spread of COVID-19, especially for our youngest New Yorkers who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.”
DMV Commissioner and Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Mark J.F. Schroeder said, “As New Yorkers take part in fun Halloween activities, I remind motorists to slow down, expect pedestrians, and avoid distractions like cell phone use. Pedestrians must always walk against traffic and make sure drivers are aware of your presence. Remember, See! and Be Seen!”
Children and adults can celebrate this traditional festivity and enjoy the activities by following these tips:
- Wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer before, during and after any Halloween activities. Consider carrying Halloween-themed or decorated hand sanitizer or leaving some out for your trick-or-treaters to use.
- If you’re hosting a Halloween event, keep the gathering small and outdoors.
- When giving out candy this Halloween, instead of having kids reach into a large candy bowl, consider making individual goodie bags and placing them on a table in your driveway or in front of your house.
- Trick or treat in small groups and avoid crowds. Do not pick candy out of a bowl or receive candy directly from someone’s hands. If there is crowding in front of a home, skip that house and find a safer option.
- Try to incorporate a cloth face mask into your costume. For children under 12 who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, masks are still the best line of defense against COVID-19.
- Children under 12 should be accompanied by an adult while trick-or-treating. Older, responsible children should review their route with an adult and agree on a time to return home.
- Use reflective tape as a trim for costumes, outerwear and even treat bags to make them visible to motorists at dusk and in the dark. Reflective tape is found in hardware, bicycle, and sporting goods stores.
- Cross the street on corners, use crosswalks and adhere to traffic signals.
- Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of a motorist.
- Walk on sidewalks or paths and if there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far left as possible.
- Put electronics down, keep your head up and walk (don’t run) while crossing the street.
- Slow down and take extra care when driving on Halloween, especially in neighborhoods and areas where there may be trick-or-treaters.
- Be careful when passing stopped vehicles. They may be stopping to let trick-or-treaters cross the road or unloading passengers. The visibility of trick-or-treaters and other pedestrians may be obstructed.
- Always look out for pedestrians, especially before turning at a green light or making a “right turn on red.”
- Look for fabrics labeled “flame resistant” such as nylon or polyester when purchasing costumes, beards, wigs, and masks. Flame resistant fabrics are not flame proof but they will resist burning and can be extinguished quickly.
- Purchase or make costumes that are light colored, bright and clearly visible to motorists. Dark colored costumes are hard to see at night.
- If using a full face mask as part of your costume, make sure it fits securely, provides adequate ventilation, has eye holes large enough to allow full vision and does not limit hearing.
- Examine any toys or small items for young children under three years of age that may pose a choking hazard or may separate while in use and present a choking hazard.
- Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped, or suspicious items.
- Use battery operated tea-lights, LED lights or glow sticks instead of an open flame candle for your Jack-o-Lanterns. Keep your decorated Jack-o-Lanterns away from curtains, decorations or other flammable objects that could be ignited. Do not leave an open flame candle unattended.
- Keep any candles or Jack-o-Lanterns away from landings or doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flames and place them on a sturdy table.
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection serves to educate, assist, and empower the State’s consumers. The Division’s Consumer Helpline, 800-697-1220, is available Monday through Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm. Consumer complaints can be filed anytime online at the Division website, https://dos.ny.gov/file-consumer-complaint You can also request a presentation at, https://dos.ny.gov/consumer-services#overview--cap---outreach. Follow the Division on Twitter at @NYSConsumer or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nysconsumer.