Jack-O-Lanterns with UNM logos
By Rebecca Roybal Jones

Halloween Safety

Common-Sense Tips for Having a Creepy Good Time

Before heading out to a Halloween party or out for an evening of trick-or-treating, think safety first.

“No. 1, definitely encourage outdoor activities,” says Janet Ventura, MD, a pediatrician with The University of New Mexico Hospital and at the UNM Southwest Mesa Family Health Clinic.

And practice social distancing, she says. If you attend an indoor party, be sure to mask up.

While it’s OK to be mask-free while walking around a neighborhood for treats, wear a mask at the doorstep, and especially around other groups of people who might be congregating in front of doors, she says. “That's when it becomes a problem. Give some space in between each family or each little group just to keep (safe).”

A Halloween mask does not replace your normal COVID-19 mask, Ventura says. “I also do not recommend painting over your face mask, because the masks are not meant to have paint or stuff on it. It actually does impede airflow,” she says.

When face-painting is a part of a costume, use nontoxic, hypoallergenic makeup. And face-painting for little ones should be done sparingly, if at all, since they’re likely to rub their eyes and inadvertently smear makeup into their mouths.

An adult should be present with the kids at all times, even when they go to the door for candy, Ventura says.

And the adult should carry a flashlight, now that the evenings are darker earlier.

Some costumes are hard to see in the dark, such as Batman or ghoulish outfits. Apply reflective tape or wear a light color that catches light to improve visibility, she says.

Good walking shoes also are a must if you’ll be going the extra mile for extra candy.

Remember that though Halloween is a fun time, it can also be scary.

“If you're walking up to a house that's got all of these really live scary things you may not want to take your little ones there until you either assess it or just not go there because they're still little,” Ventura says. Only stop at houses that have a porch light on, she adds.


Janet Ventura, MD
Everybody loves candy and that's what everybody is going to give out. So, the No. 1 rule is wait for the candy-eating.
Janet Ventura, MD

“Everybody loves candy and that's what everybody is going to give out. So, the No. 1 rule is wait for the candy-eating,” she says.

Before kids dive into their treasure trove of goodies, an adult should examine the candy for any unsealed, open or questionable packaging, she says. And this is also true for kids with allergies. Adults should also be on the lookout for choking hazards.

“It’s a good idea to teach the older kiddos, too, to make sure it's not questionable,” she says.

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