Authored by Revere Health

Halloween Safety Tips

October 21, 2016 | Family Medicine

Halloween Saftey Tips

Health Tips

Halloween candy has a reputation of hanging around long after October has come and gone, but how long is it good for? Does candy ever expire?
The answer is yes! How long a candy will stay good for depends greatly on what kind of candy it is and how it is stored. While many candies are technically safe to eat for around two years, they are likely to change their texture and consistency before then. Eating candy after its prime is not only less appetizing, but it has the potential to harm your teeth.

It is wise to throw out candy after it’s shelf life, even if it is still technically safe to consume. The National Confectioners Association has outlined the following guidelines for the shelf life of various Halloween treats:

  • Chocolate: Milk and white chocolate should be kept for no more than 8-10 months. Dark chocolate has a longer life and can keep for up to 2 years if wrapped in foil and stored in a cool dark place such as a pantry.
  • Hard Candies: can be kept for up to a year with very little concern or special care.
  • Jellied Candies: unopened jelly candies will last about 12 months.
  • Candy Corn: Unopened, fresh packages of candy corn last about 9 months.
  • Gum: sealed and packaged gum generally has a shelf life of about 6-9 months.
  • Caramel: If covered and kept away from heat and light, caramel usually lasts about 6-9 months, but in cases it can stay good for up to 12 months.

It is worth noting that many chocolate bars have ingredients such a cream filling or peanuts that are likely to go bad before the chocolate itself.

Trick or Treating Safety Tips

According to State Farm Insurance, Halloween is the day with the highest child pedestrian fatality rate in the United States. By talking to your children in advance, planning accordingly and driving safely, you can help prevent child fatalities.

Nearly one-fourth of all child pedestrian fatalities occur between 6pm and 7pm, often called the “deadliest hour”. Over 60 percent of all child fatalities occur between 5pm and 9pm.

If you are taking children out trick or treating, it is very important to be attentive during these hours. Be sure to stress walking on the sidewalk and crossing at crosswalks or at intersections as 70 percent of the accidents occur away from an intersection or crosswalk. Young children trick or treating are likely to get so excited that they dart in and out of the street. This makes it difficult for divers to see and avoid them. Reminding children to look both ways before crossing is extra important on Halloween. By talking to your children in advance about Halloween road safety when they are calmer, they are more likely to internalize your message.

Other good safety tips to remember include:

  • Stick reflective tape to children’s costumes so that they will be more visible to cars.
  • Carry a flashlight (and have children carry a flashlight)
  • Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible, and if you must walk in the street, stay as far to the side as possible.

Talking to children in advance about proper road safety could be life saving.

Driving Tips

While it is up to parents to teach children proper safety, drivers need to be extra attentive on Halloween as well.

  • Good driving tips to remember include:
  • Drive slowly, especially in neighborhoods or areas where children are likely to be trick or treating
  • Be extra cautious at crosswalks and intersections
  • Avoid driving if possible, or be extra attentive when driving during the most popular trick or treating hours.

The most common age group to fatally injure a child pedestrian is 15-25. If you are a parent of a young driver, it is important to stress the increased responsibility of driving on Halloween. While it is never okay to drive drunk, on Halloween it poses extra dangers as young adults are more inclined to drink and there will be many more pedestrians on the street.

Pet Tips

While you may be focused on your children this Halloween, make sure not to forget your furry friends! Halloween can be a scary time for pets; following these simple steps can help prevent your pet from being scared and reduce the likelihood of them running away.


While costumes are fun for little ones, they can be less fun for pets. Costumes and masks can change your appearance and smell, causing distress even to animals who are familiar with you. If you or your children are planning on wearing a costume, lay them out several days before you wear them so that your pet can become familiar with their look and smell.

Pet costumes can be adorable and hilarious, but make sure they don’t engager your pet’s health. Avoid costumes that obstruct or restrict your pet’s ability to breathe, see, move normally or bark/meow . Be careful not to put your pet in any costume that has small or easily removable parts that could be ripped off and eaten, causing a choking hazard. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) warns that ill-fitting outfits can “get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.”

If you find a costume that you want your pet to wear, try it on at least 24 hours before Halloween or the event you want them to wear it to. If your dog is irritated by it, or seems unhappy in any other way, do not make them wear it. Signs that your pet is unhappy in their costume include “folded down ears, eyes rolling back or looking sideways, a tucked tail and hunching over.” Many animal activists group strongly urge to only put your pet in a costume if they clearly enjoy it. Making your pet wear a costume that they do not want to wear can cause emotional distress. 

Keep your pet inside and away from the door and put an ID on

Even for the most social of pets, having a large number of strangers at the door in costumes can be frightening. Keeping your pet in a confined area away from the door, possibly in a room with their crate or other “safe space” can help prevent them from running away or harming trick-or-treaters. If possible, it is best that someone stay with them and act is normal as possible. 

Make sure to put a collar with ID tags on your pets even if they are nowhere near the door. Holidays are among the most popular times for pets to run away. Having an ID or microchip could be a lifesaver as only 14 percent of pets who runaway are ever returned to their owners. 

Many people use Halloween as an excuse to harm animals. Do not leave even well trained dogs alone in the front yard and be especially careful to keep black cats inside. While there is little hard data on the subject, there are many stories on black cats being abused or stolen around Halloween. All cats should be kept inside as much as possible during the Halloween season, but black cats need extra protection. 

Keep the candy and pumpkins away 

Many of the ingredients in popular candies are toxic to pets. According to the ASPCA, “Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for cats and dogs, and sugar-free candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can cause serious problems in pets.” It is also important to be vigilant of candy wrappers that your dog may steal. Candy wrappers smell like food to dogs and, if ingested, can cause symptoms as mild as an stomach upset or as serious as a blockage, which could require surgery. 

While pumpkins are not toxic to pets, if they are eaten in a large quantity they can cause an upset stomach. Pumpkins pose two greater problems. The most serious problem being that if pets get too close to a pumpkin lit by a candle they could burn themselves or knock it over causing a fire. After Halloween be sure to throw away your carved creations because the mold and bacteria that cover old, rotting pumpkins can be poisonous to your pet.

If you are worried that your pet has eaten something poisonous, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control number is (888) 426.4435.

Halloween should be a fun and exciting time, but if a family member gets hurt, seek appropriate medical attention immediately. In cases of an emergency, it is best to get to the ER as fast as possible but for non life-threatening injuries, an urgent care can likely help your loved one faster and more efficiently. 

Revere Health has 12 urgent care clinic locations spread throughout Utah which generally cost about 50% of what an ER visit would and offer faster, more convenient service. You can learn more about Revere Health’s urgent care facilities and find the location nearest to you at their website.


Our family practices and 29 medical specialties allow us the opportunity to offer you and your family complete healthcare at any stage of life. Let’s live better.





The Live Better Team

Telehealth is not appropriate for every medical concern, so it’s important to ask your provider whether a virtual visit is suitable for your needs.

Learn more about Telehealth

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.