Halloween is one of kids’ favorite holidays. It can be just scary enough to be fun but still keep health and safety in mind. The American Academy of Pediatrics has some well-chosen tips for parents of trick or treaters.
Choose a costume that won’t cause safety hazards.
Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility. Because masks can limit or block eyesight, try non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.
Hats should fit properly so they don’t slide over eyes. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to make sure there are no allergic reactions. Use only flame-resistant costumes, wigs, and accessories.
Do not use decorative contact lenses. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” using 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.
Don’t head out hungry and check your treats.
What would Halloween be without candy… but a good meal before trick or treating will help kids avoid filling up on Halloween treats. Just like not going to the grocery store hungry for adults, sending your children off with a full stomach will help them enjoy the whole experience and not just the sugar binge.
Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
Trick-or-treating? Be mindful of pedestrian safety.
Since pedestrian injuries are the most common ones for kids on Halloween: Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks. Stay on the sidewalk if possible, in well-lit areas.
Never cross between parked cars or out of driveways. Don’t assume that drivers see you. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
Have a just- scary- enough, fun, happy, healthy Halloween! What tips would you add to the list?
Dr. Kathie Williams is the Director of Public Health EdVenture. During more than 30 years of public health experience, Kathie Williams has worked in Africa and the U.S. in health care delivery, maternal and child health education, nursing education, development of health literacy materials, and accessing health care for refugees resettled in the United States. Dr. Williams holds a B.S. in Nursing from Duke University, M.P.H. in public health nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a DrPH in Health Promotion Education and Behavior from the Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health at USC-Columbia. After joining EdVenture in 2007, Kathie worked to expand health programming at EdVenture to include greater community collaboration, opened the BioInvestigations Lab as part of a National Institutes of Health grant and opened the Taste Buds Nutrition Lab.