Halloween Safety Tips For All Ages

fot. Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Halloween is the second largest shopping holiday of the year, which means unscrupulous businesses have plenty of opportunity to cash in. In the rush to purchase a costume or decorate the house, consumers can miss red flags. This Halloween, watch out for pop-up store confusion, online shopping scams, haunted events, and other seasonal hazards.

Themed Events
Halloween is getting very popular with adults, and there are numerous haunted theme events you can attend with your friends. Be cautious of events that advertise only online or on social media. Also, be wary of events that don’t provide information on how to contact the event organizers.

When in doubt, contact the venue and see if they have a paid booking for the date and time listed, or if they have heard of the organizer. One company that came to BBB’s attention has stated a scary “No Refund” policy, which applies even when they are the ones to cancel the event!

Pop-Up Shops
Each fall, pop-up Halloween Stores appear in empty storefronts across the United States. These shops can be a great way to purchase costumes, decorations, and other themed merchandise. But their temporary nature can leave consumers feeling ghosted.

Here are some tips to for shopping at a seasonal Halloween store:

Know the return policy: Ask whether the store will be open after the holiday and whether it will accept returns when the season is over.
Use a credit card: And save your receipts! If there’s a problem with your purchase, your credit card company can help handle the dispute.
Check for contact information: Make sure the store has a website with contact information in the event you need to reach them later.
Check the shop’s BBB Business Review. Research the business at bbb.org/ask/Chicago to see past complaints and ratings information.

A popular alternative to pop-up shops is ordering Halloween costumes and decorations online. When shopping online, make sure the website is secure before entering your credit card information. Look for URLs that start with “https ://”. Read the fine print, making sure you understand the return policy and shipping times. Also, ensure the shop has working contact information, so you can follow up in case of problems.

Check bbb.org/shoppingonline for more tips about online shopping.

If you’re going door-to-door collecting candy with your little ones, ensure you and your family enjoy a safe and fun Halloween by following these tips:

Don’t accept or eat any treats unless they are commercially wrapped (and carefully inspect wrapped candies for signs of tampering).
Carry a flashlight or wear reflective shoes or clothing while out with your kiddos
after dark.
Make sure your trick-or-treater can see through their costume or mask and that their outfit allows them to move and walk freely.
Remind older children to stay on sidewalks, to use crosswalks and to be vigilant around cars and traffic.
Encourage older kids to travel in groups or to stay with a trusted adult while trick-or-treating.
A good rule for parents and children is to never enter a home while trick-or-treating unless you know its owner well. And encourage those out trick-or-treating without a guardian to remember the phrase “When in doubt, just stay out!”

Ensure your Halloween is more sweet than spooky by staying alert while you’re out and dressed up as your favorite super hero (or villain!). Have more treats, than tricks. When in doubt, check with your Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois to get information about the businesses that carry all your favorite Halloween themed items.

Steve J. Bernas
President & CEO
Better Business Bureau

Tags: BBB, Halloween

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