Halloween is an exciting time of year for children of all ages (yes, this includes adults!). For many kiddos, the thrill of trick or treating is the height of the year, second only to a visit from Santa Claus.

While the kids are planning strategies to tackle their neighborhoods in an effort to conquer the title of "kid with the most candy", parents also have some work to do. Be sure to review the list below to help ensure the most fun and safe night for your precious little ghosts and goblins.

Dressing Up for the Big Day

  • Try to plan for bright costumes or costumes with bright colors to be easily noticeable at night, using highly reflective tape helps.
  • When putting on makeup, make sure to test on a small portion of the skin to check for allergens or any allergic reaction.
  • Make sure the costume fits properly to prevent tripping or entanglement, and avoid use of masks that cover the eyes and obstruct vision.
  • Avoid using toy swords or guns as accessories.
  • Don't forget to factor in the weather, a warm layer under the costume and possibly a coat may be necessary to keep your little ones warm

While on the Trick-or-Treat Trail

  • A parent should accompany children at all times with a flash light. Consider giving each child a flashlight with fresh batteries.
  • If allowing older children to go without accompanying adults, make sure to review routes AND time to be back home.
  • Only go down streets that are well lit and to houses with porch lights on.
  • Never cut through yards and only cross the street at established crosswalks.

Looking at the Prize

  • Inspect all candy before allowing children to eat it. Make sure to give the children a light meal before going trick-or-treating.
  • Tell children never to accept or eat anything that is not commercially wrapped.
  • If a child has a food allergy, make sure to check with the label for the ingredients.
  • Make sure to remove hazardous candy to avoid choking.

Report suspicious activity to 911 and be sure your children know when they need to call for help. A full list of safety tips can be found at American Academy of Pediatrics and U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

If you have questions about the safety of a chemical, food, or other substance that you or your child may have been exposed to, call the nurses and pharmacists at the Poison Control Center. They are a free, expert resource available 24×7 at 1-800-222-1222.

Andy Tang, a PharmD Candidate from Temple University School of Pharmacy, wrote this in conjunction with the Poison Control Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.