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Health, Ucla, Santa Monica

UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica: How To Make Halloween Happy & Safe

Dr. Wally Ghurabi is medical director of the Nethercutt Emergency Center at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital.
Courtesy photo
Dr. Wally Ghurabi is medical director of the Nethercutt Emergency Center at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital.

Posted Oct. 20, 2013, 6:00 am

Mirror Staff

Ghouls and goblins abound on Halloween with kids of all ages wearing costumes and going door to door looking for treats. It’s one of the all-time favorite occasions for kids. UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica wants to make sure that in addition to being fun, Halloween remains safe for all participants.

“Halloween should be a fun, family-oriented occasion and a festive kickoff to the holiday season,” said Dr. Wally Ghurabi, medical director of the Nethercutt Emergency Center at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. “Too often, however, we see kids and even adults with injuries that could have been prevented by taking simple, common-sense precautions.”

To ensure this Halloween is a safe one for your family, the hospital offers these suggestions:


Look for ones that are bright or reflective and make sure they are flame-retardant and short enough to prevent tripping. Consider adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility. Also try using non-toxic make up and hats instead of masks that can limit or block eyesight.


Never allow small children to carve pumpkins. Have them draw a face on the pumpkin instead and leave the cutting to adults. Instead of using candles to illuminate jack-o’-lanterns, try using flashlights or glow sticks. However, if you do use candles, choose votives. Place the candlelit pumpkins on a sturdy table away from curtains and other flammable objects and never leave them unattended.


A responsible adult should always accompany young children. If older children are going alone, plan an acceptable route and agree on a specific return time. Make sure each child and escort has a flashlight to help avoid falls. Only visit homes with lighted porches and never enter a home for a treat. To avoid pedestrian injuries, trick-or-treaters should stay in groups, remain on well-lit streets, always use sidewalks, cross only at intersections and keep an eye out for cars.


Check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs. Remove porch and yard objects that children and adults could trip over, including garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations. Sweep leaves from sidewalks and steps and be sure to restrain pets so they don’t jump on or bite trick-or-treaters.

Healthy Snacking

Eating a good meal before parties or trick-or-treating will discourage filling up on Halloween treats. Make sure to inspect all Halloween candy before allowing kids to eat it and consider limiting them to a specific amount of candy. The remainder can be donated to military troops, food pantries, etc.

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