Halloween is a great holiday – the spooky costumes and pumpkin carving give it a unique air. It can, however, have some real dangers to go along with the imaginary ones.
To fully enjoy this holiday, here are some tips on maintaining safety.
1. Don’t snack while trick-or-treating
Give kids a light meal or snack before they head out to raid trick-or-treat jars around the neighborhood – don’t send them out on an empty stomach. Urge them to wait until they get home and let you inspect their bounty before they eat any of it.
2. Make sure treats are wrapped
Don’t let kids accept or eat anything that isn’t commercially wrapped, especially if they are out on their own. Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.
3. Beware of food allergies
If your child has a food allergy, check the label to ensure the allergen isn’t present. Do not allow the child to eat any home-baked goods he or she may have received before you check on ingredients with the cook.
4. Choking hazards
If you have very young ghosts, ghouls or goblins, be sure to remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys.
5. Bobbing for bacteria
If you’re holding a bobbing for apples competition, reduce the number of bacteria that might be present on apples and other raw fruits and vegetables by thoroughly rinsing them under cool running water. As an added precaution, use a produce brush to remove surface dirt.
6. A different type of bobbing
Try this new spin on apple bobbing from FightBAC.org: Cut out lots of apples from red construction paper. On each apple, write activities for kids, such as “do 5 jumping jacks.” Place a paper clip on each apple and put them in a large basket. Tie a magnet to a string. Let the children take turns “bobbing” with their magnet and doing the activity written on their apple. Give children a fresh apple for participating.
7. Bright costumes
While it’s tempting to make Halloween costumes dark to fit the spirit of the season, that makes your child hard to see while patrolling the neighborhood. Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
8. Let them see
Masks are fun, but they can limit eyesight and make it hard to breath. Consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises on the big day.
9. Keep their eyes safe
Changing eye color can add a cool effect to a costume. Decorative contact lenses should only be used after an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional, though. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
10. Prepare your home for trick-or-treaters
Part of treating kids is the trick of making your home safe to visit. Parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations. Check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs, sweep away wet leaves (or snow), and restrain pets so they don’t jump or bite.