Press Release

American Association of Poison Control Centers Offers Tips to Prevent Poisonings This Halloween

October 25, 2016 | Download PDF

ALEXANDRIA, VA – While Halloween is a fun and exciting time for children, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) encourages parents, grandparents, and guardians to take simple precautions to ensure a safe night of trick-or-treating:

“During the month of October, poison centers receive thousands of calls from all over the country about Halloween-related exposures, such as glow products, dry ice, cosmetics, and Halloween craft products,” said Stephen T. Kaminski, JD, AAPCC CEO and Executive Director. “By taking a few simple precautions and saving Poison Help as a contact in their mobile phones, parents and guardians can help ensure that children stay safe, and be prepared in case of questions or an emergency.”

AAPCC offers the following simple safety tips to help prevent exposures and injuries on Halloween:

Candy and treats:

  • When trick-or-treating, instruct children not to open their candy until they return home. Inspect all candy for any signs of tampering (tears, pinholes, discoloration, etc.) before eating or allowing children to eat it. If you should find an object in the candy or find anything unusual about it, throw it away and call Poison Help at 1 (800) 222-1222.
  • Accept only wrapped and packaged candy. Do not eat or allow children to eat candy that has been unwrapped or opened. Throw away any candy or food that is not wrapped tightly by the candy company.
  • Do not give homemade or unwrapped treats to trick-or-treaters, and do not allow children to eat homemade treats from strangers. Also, be wary of any treats that may contain marijuana or other drugs. If you suspect a child has consumed candy containing a drug, call Poison Help at 1 (800) 222-1222 for immediate assistance.
  • Some children have to follow certain dietary restrictions which prohibit them from eating the traditional treats offered on Halloween. If you suspect someone is experiencing an allergic reaction to a Halloween treat, call Poison Help immediately at 1 (800) 222-1222. If the person is having trouble breathing, call 911.
  • Avoid giving choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys as treats to young children, and be aware of any choking hazards young children in your care may collect.


  • Test face makeup in a small area of skin first (preferably on the arm) to check for allergic reaction before applying it to the face. Avoid decorating the face or body with products that aren’t intended for the skin. If you suspect you are having an adverse reaction to a cosmetic, call Poison Help at 1 (800) 222-1222.
  • Avoid the eye area when applying costume makeup to the face, and remove makeup before bedtime to prevent eye and/or skin irritation.
  • Throw out any makeup that has a very bad smell; this could be a sign of contamination.
  • Do not allow children to ingest any cosmetics. If a child swallows a cosmetic product like Halloween make up, call Poison Help at 1 (800) 222-1222.

Other Halloween hazards:

  • Remind children not to chew on or break open glow sticks or any other glow-in-the-dark products. While the liquid in the majority of these products is considered minimally toxic in small amounts, it can cause skin irritation. Eyes are especially sensitive to glow stick liquid. Never put these products in the microwave.
  • Handle dry ice properly and carefully. Oral/skin exposure or ingestion of dry ice can be very dangerous. Do not store dry ice in the freezer or an unventilated area.
  • When working on Halloween crafts, make sure to read each product’s label carefully as some may contain ingredients that are toxic or hazardous. Always keep products in their original packaging, which includes safety information. Do not use products on skin or in food unless the directions specifically indicate to do so.

For more information on Halloween safety, visit AAPCC’s Poison Prevention webpage:

For more information, the media may contact Angela Gonzales, AAPCC Associate Manager, Communications and Outreach, at 703-894-1865 or

AAPCC supports the nation’s 55 poison center members in their efforts to treat and prevent drug, consumer product, animal, environmental and food poisoning. Members staff the Poison Help hotline at 1-800-222-1222 that provides free, confidential, expert medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year from toxicology specialists, including nurses, pharmacists, physicians and poison information providers. In addition, AAPCC maintains the only poison information and surveillance database in the United States, providing real-time monitoring of unusual poisoning patterns, chemical exposures and other emerging public health hazards. AAPCC partners with federal agencies such as HRSA, CDC, FDA and EPA, as well as private industry. Be prepared for a poisoning emergency and program the Poison Help phone number into your mobile telephone today – 1 (800) 222-1222.

To learn more, visit, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@AAPCC).

For More Information

  • Edward V. Walrod

    • Associate Manager for Media and Public Relations
    • Email: media at aapcc dot org
    • 703-894-1863

Find Your Local Poison Center

Poison centers offer free, private, confidential medical advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can reach your local poison center by calling 1-800-222-1222.

View all Poison Control Centers