Randolph, Mass. (October 24, 2003) -- Halloween ghosts and goblins might be scary, but the potential for injuries among trick-or-treaters is scarier. Two out of three children plan to trick-or-treat this year and that has most parents concerned about their children's safety. Children can be distracted by the excitement of dressing up for Halloween and collecting candy and forget about safety.

Dunkin' Donuts is teaming up with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for the second annual national Mind Your Munchkins™ Halloween Safety Program, designed to educate parents and their children about important Halloween safety tips.

In fact, parents are generally more concerned about their children trick-or-treating without parental supervision than riding a bike, according to the recently released Dunkin' Donuts Halloween Safety Survey. The survey, conducted by Impulse Research Corporation of Los Angeles, asked 1,500 parents of children ages six to 18 about their Halloween safety perceptions and practices. Less than 40 percent of those surveyed felt it was safe for children to trick-or-treat without parental supervision, compared to riding a bike (65%), riding a scooter (52%), swimming in a pool (43%) and camping (40%).

Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Ninety-nine percent of those parents surveyed feel it is unsafe for children under eight years of age to trick-or-treat without a parent, while 94 percent feel it is unsafe for children under the age of 11 to go out by themselves. The CPSC strongly suggests that parents always accompany their children on their trick-or-treating route. If older children trick-or-treat without adult supervision, they should always travel in a group.

Making Costumes Safe
Nearly one-third of parents agree that Halloween masks partially cover their children's eyes, making it difficult for a child to see. Another one-third of those surveyed say their children will wear a mask with their Halloween costume this year. The CPSC recommends using make-up instead of a mask. If a child does wear a mask, parents should make sure the eyeholes are large enough to allow full vision.

Other tips to ensure costumes are safe include:

  • Costumes, masks, beards and wigs should be made of flame resistant fabrics such as nylon or polyester. Look for the label "Flame Resistant." Such fabrics resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
     
  • Costumes should be well-fitted. Little ghosts and goblins can trip and fall if their costumes drag on the ground.
     
  • Costumes and bags or sacks should be light-colored and/or decorated with reflective tape that will glow in the headlights of a car. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware, bicycle and sporting goods stores.

 

Costumes and Candles Don't Mix
The potential for fire may be among the greatest dangers at Halloween time. Approximately two-thirds of parents (65%) decorate the outside of their houses with jack-o'-lanterns containing lighted candles. While the CPSC encourages people to decorate both the inside and outside of their homes, they should keep candles, luminaries and jack-o'-lanterns away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame.

The Mind Your Munchkins™ program includes police officer-led safety seminars at elementary schools, community centers and at select Dunkin' Donuts shops. A key tool of the program is a colorful flyer from Dunkin' Donuts which contains Halloween safety tips that will be available free-of-charge for a limited time at participating Dunkin' Donuts shops nationwide while supplies last. Additional Halloween safety tips, information about the program and instructions on how to order materials can be found online at www.dunkindonuts.com* through October 31.

The Mind Your Munchkins™ program is part of the Dunkin' Donuts WEE CARE: Community Partnership for Children. Introduced in 1998, WEE CARE works with local leaders and individual neighborhoods to protect and nurture the area's youth.

The CPSC was created under the Consumer Product Safety Act and began operating in 1973. It is an independent federal regulatory agency responsible for helping reduce the risk of death and injury associated with consumer products. Halloween costumes, for example, must meet the CPSC's flammability standard for general wearing apparel.

Dunkin' Donuts Incorporated is the largest coffee and baked goods chain in the world with 5,400 locations in 32 countries worldwide. Dunkin' Donuts sells more regular coffee, donuts, bagels and muffins than any other retailer in the United States. Founded in 1950, Dunkin' Donuts is based in Randolph, Mass., and is a division of Allied Domecq PLC, a global business in spirits, wines and quick service restaurants.

*Site to go live week of October 6th