How to Stay Safe on Halloween This Year

Halloween: the one night when ghouls and goblins roam freely on the streets around the world. It’s a night of laughter, family memories, sweet treats, and scary movies. However, there are plenty of potential threats to be aware of on All Hallows’ Eve. Halloween tends to be a time when bad people can carry out their intentions while acceptably wearing a mask and costume, making identifying and catching them infinitely harder. Kids are also a huge target for all manner of criminals, so it’s important to prepare and help your kids stay safe this Halloween. 

Take Precautions

Obviously, you still need to have fun and enjoy your Halloween festivities, but there are some general rules of thumb that are often forgotten or ignored. First, avoid toy weapons for kids. It may sound overbearing, but it’s too easy to be misinterpreted as a real weapon, especially in dark areas where kids may be waving them around without a care in the world. So, unless it is unmistakable as a fake prop, it’s advised to stay away. 

Next, if you decide to concealed carry while trick-or-treating with your family or attending a local Halloween party, leave the masks behind. As fun as that part of Halloween may be, it’s just asking for legal trouble or potentially fatal confusion with law enforcement in sticky situations. Masks can also inhibit your ability to see or hear, making you less aware of your surroundings. Do yourself a favor and choose another costume option that doesn’t require a mask or face paint. 

It’s also a good idea to avoid dark, hard-to-see costumes. Pure black costumes can risk lives largely due to low visibility. This can be fixed by simply adding some reflective or bright material onto your costume (front and back) just to be safe. Make sure your presence, or your child’s, is known to cars and other passersby. 

Don’t play stupid games

This may seem obvious to some, but it definitely isn’t to others. As fun as it may sound, Halloween is not the night to go out and act a fool. People will use the holiday as a reason to act out, consume excessive amounts of alcohol and drugs, and make overall poor decisions. And don’t think that ‘just one’ stupid thing can’t hurt, because it can. One mistake can easily spiral into a ruined night. Being laid back may be your safest option. 

Know your environment

halloween house party
Trick or treater or party-goer, know your surroundings well. [Photo credit: Kenny Eliason]
Going out to a party? Know the house, the area, and the people. This includes knowing entrances and exits in buildings and staying aware. As mentioned above, expect the worst of people, holidays are an excuse to act out. 

Trick or treating with your kids? Know your route and the neighborhood you’re walking through. No one wants to get lost on Halloween and miss out on candy, and no one wants to get hurt along the way. Know your way back to your car, a friend’s house, or even your own. Have an exit plan, even on the streets. 

Stay aware

figure stalking shadow
Never underestimate what lengths people are willing to go to to hurt others. [Photo credit: Joakim Nådell]
Heard it enough yet? Stay aware of your surroundings, environment, people, and what’s going on between them. This point encapsulates minor parts of others, but the overarching idea is that you need to know what’s going on. 

This can be helped by staying sober. If you’re carrying a firearm, it’s against the law to be under the influence of alcohol. It’s also just a bad idea in general, alcohol and guns just don’t mix. It’s important to remain aware of your surroundings and alert. Boos and booze may be all the rage, but choose another night to safely indulge at home, unarmed.

It’s your responsibility to watch for danger. There are always people who won’t care who their victim is, or even worse, may intentionally target trick-or-treaters or the parents guiding them. No matter what you may think, you’re not immune to danger. Understanding that there is almost always a risk is essential to staying safe.

The world is changing and needs to be approached differently from how you may have as a child in your hometown. The streets that may have seemed so safe before may have always been crawling with danger, or they may be now. So, don’t let preconceived notions fool you, it’s not worth it when it comes to safety. 

Jack o lanterns
It’s still important to have a good time, but just a little awareness can take you a long way.[Photo credit: Aisvri]
Even if you’re just handing out candy it’s important to pay attention to your surroundings and people coming to your door. Though it may seem obvious, don’t let anyone into your house, and be ready to shut the door on any threat with a firearm nearby. Judge each situation wisely. 

Have backup 

Have extra people behind the scenes and help them in return. Let trusted friends and family know where you and/or your kids are going this Halloween so everyone is in the loop. This gives everyone involved a support system just in case someone needs help or a catastrophe happens. 


holstered pistol on belt
It’s important not to open carry on a night like Halloween. [Photo credit: Seeetz]
Self-defense is important year-round, but especially on a holiday like Halloween where disguises are encouraged, troublemakers abound, and a lot of people may be walking around intoxicated. If you’re of age, consider concealing your handgun in an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster. Halloween is NOT the night to open carry. Among many other reasons, someone may think it’s a prop or see it as a threat. Further, if someone is indeed up to no good, you can make yourself a threat. Keep it hidden and out of sight. 

Kids can benefit from this category too, especially if trick or treating unsupervised. Make sure your kids know the basics of how to act around strangers, what to do in scary situations, and how to use the tools they’re given. It is at the parent’s discretion to decide what kind of self-defense tool may be best (and age-appropriate). Consider hanging a noisemaker or personal alarm on their candy pail; make it easy to access if it’s needed. This isn’t the best self-defense option, but younger kids aren’t always able to use actual weapons.


sabre pepper spray
Sabre’s keychain pepper spray is a perfect option for alternative self-defense. [Photo credit: Sabre]
Older kids have several options, but the best of those is pepper spray. However, it’s important to make sure they understand how to use it. Always keep the wind direction in mind, know where to aim, and use it responsibly. It’s not a toy to play with and show off and it can cause some real damage. 


Regardless of what you’re doing on All Hallow’s Eve, keeping safety in mind is important. It can be easy to forget what’s important when you want to have fun, but rest assured you can still have a great time safely. Working a concealed firearm into your costume and paying attention to your surroundings can really make a huge difference if danger comes. 

Grace Ainsworth Stevens is an outdoor writer and political cartoonist who writes for a number of industry publications including The Truth About Guns and Breach Bang Clear. She's been hunting everything from deer to feral hogs since grade school and started honing her handgun skills at the age of 13. Grace's art is Second Amendment focused and speaks to current events and gun world cliches. She's also a college sophomore and will fight you over robotics and early education issues.

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