Halloween newsflash:– Tips for safe trick-or-treating

PAN Media Release

It’s Halloween, and time for kids to dress up in their scariest costumes – as goblins and ghosts, as witches and devils, or even (gulp!) as televangelists. It’s time for carved pumpkins, things that go bump in the night, and of course, lots of processed sugar.

The Pagan Awareness Network Incorporated (PAN), an association that represents witches, pagans, and followers of other earth-based religions in Australia, is encouraging parents to think about safety during this year’s Halloween festivities.

“Witches and Pagans know a lot about trick or treating, and how to do it safely,” PAN President David Garland said today. “There are a few simple tips everyone can follow so that children stay safe and have fun.”

The Pagan Awareness Network recommends:

  • An adult should always accompany groups of children while out trick or treating.
  • Children should know everyday safety such as not getting into cars or talking to strangers, watching both ways before crossing streets and crossing at traffic lights and marked pedestrian crossings.
  • Parents should help their children pick out or make costumes that will be safe. Costumes should be fire proof, and the eye holes should be large enough for good peripheral vision.
  • If children are carrying props to go with their costumes (plastic scythes, butcher knives, pitchforks etc,) ensure that the tips are smooth and flexible enough to not cause injury if fallen on.
  • Children should carry a torch, glow stick or have reflective tape on their costume to make them more visible to cars.
  • Any candles set near front doors should be far enough out of the way so that costumes won’t accidentally be set on fire.
  • Kids love carved pumpkins, or ‘Jack o Lanterns’. Small children shouldn’t be allowed to use a sharp knife to cut the top or the face. Let the kids clean out the pumpkin with spoons and then draw a face on it, which you can carve for them.
  • Treat kids to a spooky Halloween dinner before they go trick or treating. This will make them less likely to eat the sweets they collect before you have a chance to check it for them. It will also mean they are less likely to make themselves sick.

Real-life witches and pagans, on the other hand, will have their minds on other things.

“Halloween has its origins in the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain,” David Garland said. “It was the final festival before the onset of winter. Because we’re in the springtime, most witches and pagans are actually celebrating a festival called Beltane, which welcomes the summer and marks the most fertile time of year.”

Beltane is regarded by many followers of earth-based religions, including witches, as the most auspicious time of year to get married. “A marriage between witches is called a hand-fasting,” Mr Garland said. “The hands of the couple are bound together to symbolise their union, and at the end of the ceremony they are required to jump over a broom together – this is supposed to ensure their fertility, material wealth and many children.”

So trick or treating is not welcome at the homes of real witches?

“Many pagans keep sweets on hand just in case,” Mr Garland said. “It’s a bit like Christmas, which has traditionally always been a winter feast: just because it’s the wrong time of year, doesn’t mean it’s not a good excuse for a party.”


David Garland
PAN Inc President

PAN Inc Media Officer

The Pagan Awareness Network Incorporated Australia (PAN Inc) is a not-for-profit educational association with members Australia-wide. It has no formal ties with any religious body, but works in a proactive fashion, both within the Pagan community and as a point of contact for the public, including government and media organisations.