WEATHERFORD, TEXAS — Carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating may seem like harmless fun, but Halloween activities result in injury for many children every year. The experts at Medical City Weatherford are offering Halloween safety tips to make the holiday a little less scary.

"No child wants to end up with an injury that could land them on the sidelines, especially on a holiday that should be about kids enjoying costumes and candy," says Jessica Williams, DO, Medical City Weatherford family medicine physician.

For trick-or-treaters:

  • Buy or make flame-resistant costumes and make sure they fit properly. Masks, hats or other accessories that are too big can obstruct children's vision. Costumes that are too large can cause kids to trip and fall.
  • Choose bright colors. "Scary costumes tend to be adorned with dark colors. However, costumes with bright colors will ensure that kids can be easily seen in the dark," advises Dr. Williams. "If you opt for the darker costumes, add reflective tape as an additional safety measure to make sure children are visible."
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Regardless of the costumes children choose, shoes should be sturdy, comfortable and slip-resistant to prevent falls.
  • Remind children to avoid houses that are not well lit. "Remind your child that not all houses choose to accommodate trick-or-treaters," cautions Dr. Williams. "Children should be selective about the homes they visit and avoid those that are dimly lit."
  • Be wary of pets. "Although children tend to be drawn towards animals, pets may be threatened when strangers approach their homes," says Dr. Williams.

For pumpkin carvers:

  • Use a pumpkin carving kit or knives designed for carving. These tools are less likely to get stuck in a pumpkin while carving.
  • In the event of a pumpkin carving injury, elevate the injured body part above the heart and apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean towel. "My suggestion would be that if bleeding doesn't stop after 15 minutes, or if the cut is very deep, go to the emergency room," warns Dr. Williams.

Pumpkin carving always requires adult supervision. Instead of allowing a child to use a knife to carve, invite children to participate by scooping out pumpkin seeds and decorate the pumpkin.