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Consumer alert issued on how to keep safe during Halloween celebrations

New York State’s Division of Consumer Protection is offering tips to keep families safe during Halloween celebrations.

NEW YORK — As kids are getting the final details together for their Halloween costumes, the New York State’s Division of Consumer Protection is reminding families on how to keep safe from COVID-19 variants during the festivities. 

“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," Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said. "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.”

“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,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said.

Consumer Protections suggests families can stay safe by following these tips:

Health

  • Wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer before, during and after any Halloween activities. Consider leaving some out for trick-or-treaters to use.
  • Keep the gathering small and outdoors.
  • Consider making individual goodie bags and placing them on a table in your driveway or in front of your house instead of large candy bowl.
  • 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, especially for children under 12. 

Pedestrians

  • Children under 12 should be accompanied by an adult while trick-or-treating. Review routes with older children and set an agreed upon curfew. 
  • 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.
  • 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 away cell phones, keep eyes on the road and walk while crossing the street.

Drivers

  • Slow down and take extra care when driving on Halloween, especially in neighborhoods and where there are trick-or-treaters.
  • Be careful when passing stopped vehicles. They may be stopping to let trick-or-treaters cross the road or unloading passengers. 
  • Always look out for pedestrians, especially before turning at light or making a “right turn on red.”

Costumes

  • Look for fabrics labeled “flame resistant” such as nylon or polyester when purchasing costumes, beards, wigs, and masks. They will resist burning and can be extinguished quickly.
  • Purchase or make costumes that are light colored, bright and clearly visible to motorists 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.

Treats

  • Beware of choking hazards for children under 3.
  • Tampering is rare, but a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped, or suspicious items.

Decorations

  • 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. 
  • 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.