Ghosts and goblins? They don't seem quite so scary when you think about the real-world dangers kids face when out for an evening of Halloween fun.
Here are the key steps parents should take to protect trick-or-treaters from burns, falls, poisoning, and other threats, from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Razor blades in apples are more myth than reality. Still, it's a good idea to warn children not to eat any treats before an adult has examined them carefully for evidence of tampering.
To keep your pumpkin from turning into an arsonist, keep it away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame.
That draped ghost costume looks cute, but it can cause a nasty spill. To guard against trips and falls, costumes should fit well and not drag on the ground.
Little pedestrians are vulnerable on Halloween. Purchase or make costumes that are light colored, bright and clearly visible to motorists.
For greater visibility at dusk and during darkness, decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car's headlights. Bags or sacks also should be light-colored or decorated with reflective tape.
Reflective tape is usually available in hardware, bicycle and sporting goods stores.
To be safe, kids need to be able to see well. If your child wears a mask, make sure it fits securely, provides adequate ventilation, and has eye holes large enough to allow full vision.
Flashlights don't always go with the costume, but they're essential if children are to see and be seen in the dark.
Tie hats and scarves securely to prevent them from slipping over children's eyes and obstructing their vision.
Swords, knives and similar costume accessories should be made of soft, flexible material. That helps protect kids and their companions from accidental injuries.
Falls are common on Halloween, and inappropriate shoes contribute to the problem. Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Oversized high heels? Bad idea.
Expecting trick-or-treaters? Remove obstacles from lawns, steps and porches.
Indoors or outside, use only decorative lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets.
Indoors, keep candles and jack-o'-lanterns away from curtains, decorations and other items that could ignite. Do not leave burning candles unattended.
Want to put up a strand of decorative lights? Be careful not to overload electrical outlets and extension cords.
Little kids are quick to put things in their moutth, so it's best to carefully examine any toys or novelty items received by trick-or-treaters under three years of age.
Do not allow young children to have any items that are small enough to present a choking hazard - or that have small parts that could separate during use and present a choking hazard.