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Halloween health and safety tips: Happy trick-or-treating!

  
  

 

Halloween can be a fun holiday for kid and grownups alike, but trick-or-treating might turn a little too spooky unless you take some common-sense precautions for optimal holiday health and safety.

Are those costumes safe?

  • Unmask! Especially with younger kids, masks can obstruct vision. Use kid-safe makeup instead, but first test it on a small area and watch for irritation. Wash it off before bedtime.
  • Use safe props. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that “swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.”
  • The right fit? Make sure children’s costumes allow enough room for warm clothing underneath. But dresses, pants, and capes should not be so long that they cause tripping. Discourage too-big shoes and high heels.
  • Brighten up. Opt for brightly colored costumes and apply reflective tape to costumes and bags for visibility at night.
  • Fire hazards. Choose costumes made from flame-retardant fabrics. Do not go near lit candles, luminaries, lighters, or open flames especially if you’re wearing a loose-fitting costume.

Out and about: Safety for trick-or-treaters

  • Safety in numbers. Don’t trick-or-treat alone; go in groups. Kids younger than 12 should be accompanied by an adult. “Make sure someone in the group carries a flashlight with fresh batteries,” says the Mayo Clinic.
  • Stranger danger. Stick to familiar neighborhoods. Ask older children to carry cell phones. Instruct kids to approach only brightly lit homes and to never go inside a home.
  • Be street wise. Walk only on sidewalks or at the far edge of well-lit roads, facing traffic. Use crosswalks, and look both ways before crossing. At intersections, wait for the “walk” signal. Don’t take shortcuts through backyards, alleys, or parks.
  • Safe to eat? Ask kids not to snack on treats before they get home. Inspect treats for tampering and choking hazards. Eat only factory-wrapped treats. If an item is not sealed, the packaging is torn, or it looks “iffy,” throw it away. Avoid homemade treats. For very young kids, discard gum, peanuts, small hard candies, and other items that might be choking hazards.
  • Have a party instead. The Mayo Clinic advises parents to consider having a trick-or-treat party with neighbors instead of going door-to-door. Decorate garages, and plan games with prizes. Not only is this a safer and healthier activity, but it also allows kids to interact with each other.

Keeping your house safe for trick-or-treaters

  • Welcome. Switch on porch and exterior lights for good visibility. Clear away any obstacles—such as toys, bicycles, hoses, lawn decorations—that could be tripping hazards. Remove soggy leaves, puddles, ice, and snow from walking areas.
  • Down, Fido! Keep your pets away from children on your property.
  • Healthier giveaways. Instead of handing out candy, consider small packs of raisins, trail mix, or pretzels. Or how about fun non-edibles for bigger kids like colorful pencils, cute erasers, rubber spiders, or glow sticks? Green Halloween has a lot of ideas for treats to give out instead of candy.
  • Driver alert. If you need to drive, watch out for kids darting between parked cars. Take it slow, especially when entering or leaving driveways and alleys.
photo credit: woolennium

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