When we talk about Halloween, scary costumes, spooky decorations, fun parties and trick-or-treating, and mountains of candy are likely front and center, with thoughts of health and safety likely far behind.
Each year, hundreds of children end up in hospital emergency rooms on Halloween with conditions ranging from cuts from sharp objects, eye injuries, sprains and broken bones, stomach ailments and more.
These tips from the Centers for Disease Control, National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission will help ensure that your family remains healthy and safe–and around to celebrate Halloween together for years to come:
- When using costume-related swords, knives, and similar weapons, keep them short, soft, and flexible.
- Use reflective tape on costumes and sacks, and whenever possible opt for a costume that is white or a light color.
- Carry a flashlight to make sure drivers can see you and you can see obstacles in your path.
- Stay on sidewalks, and use crosswalks whenever possible.
- If wearing masks and/or headgear, make sure they are well-fitting to avoid compromised breathing and blocked vision, the latter of which can result in trips and falls.
- Don’t wear decorative contact lenses: serious eye injuries can result.
- Never trick-or-treat alone.
- Make sure costumes are flame-retardant and avoid walking near candles or luminaries where long hems and baggy cuffs may drag and ignite.
- Eat only commercial treats and avoid anything unwrapped or homemade, unless you personally know the person who made them. A good rule of thumb is only visiting homes of individuals well known to you anyway.
- If using face or body make-up, be sure to test a small patch of your skin first to guard against burning, stinging, and allergic reactions such as rashes. Remove completely before bedtime.
- If not trick-or-treating with an adult, older children should be given a cell phone even if they routinely are not.
- Bundle up. It may be tempting to show off that costume but if the temperature is dropping, bring a jacket and/or opt for thermal underwear. There’s no reason to spoil those Halloween memories, ending up derailed by illness.