We’ve rounded up some tips to help, from choosing costumes and checking candy to hosting a party at home.
- Stay home if you’re sick and stay away from those who are ill.
- Children shouldn’t snack on treats from their goody bags while they’re out trick-or-treating. Give them a light meal or snack before they head out – don’t send them out on an empty stomach. Urge them to wait until they get home and let you inspect their loot before they eat any of it.
- Prepare your trick or treater with trick or treat safety items: a flashlight, reflective tape or strips applied to costumes and candy bags, and an emergency contact information card in case they get lost or separated from the group.
- Trick or treat as part of a large group with a responsible adult.
- Walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
- Look both ways before crossing the street at a crosswalk or intersection.
- Walk, don’t run between houses to avoid trips and falls.
- Keep your hands clean by using hand sanitizer. If you’re giving out candy, wash your hands frequently.
- Never take candy from strangers. Parents should only allow kids to go to homes in which they know the residents.
Check Your Treats
- Homemade is not preferred. Parents are advised to only allow children to eat candy that has been pre-packaged by a reputable manufacturer. Check wrapped treats for signs of tampering. Throw away anything that is discolored, has tiny pinholes or that has a torn wrapper.
- Illegal drugs may be made look like popular candy brands; these are known as “look-alikes.” If you suspect your child’s candy contains illicit or illegal substances, call your local police department.
- Pets like candy, too. Many candy items, including chocolate, are poisonous to pets. Use this as a chance to teach children about pet safety and the need to properly store candy.
- Lock your stock. Locked medicine cabinets keep look-alike prescription and over-the-counter medications away from children who can easily mistake them for candy.
- 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.
- If you have very young children, be sure to remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys.
- Call the Poison Control Hotline (1-800-222-1222) to report any incidents and receive trained medical advice. Officials also recommend putting the number in all family cell phones as well as programming it as a speed dial number on landlines, and posting the number near house phones. Medical professionals including physicians, registered nurses and pharmacists offer confidential advice on poison emergencies, poison prevention, drug information, food poisoning, animal bites and more. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Do not wear decorative contact lenses without a prescription. Decorative lenses purchased without a prescription may not fit properly, leaving the eye more susceptible to scratches on the outer layer of the eye, or getting an ulcer (an open sore) on the cornea—the clear covering over the front of the eye.
- Painting your face can be a fun alternative to wearing a mask. Test novelty makeups in a small area on the arm to test for an allergic reaction before applying it to your face. Remove all makeup according to the manufacturers’ instructions before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.
- Make sure costumes fit well to avoid blocked vision and help prevent trips and falls.
- Choose costume accessories that are short, soft and flexible. Choose items that are made of materials such as plastic or foam.
- Skip the Halloween party if you aren’t feeling well.
- Bobbing for apples is a favorite Halloween game, but make sure the apples are rinsed well under cool running water or use a produce brush to remove surface dirt before playing.
- Check your cider. Unpasteurized juice or cider can contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella. To stay safe, always serve pasteurized products at your parties.
- Don’t taste raw cookie dough or cake batter that contains uncooked eggs.
- If you’re serving hot foods, cook everything to a safe minimum internal temperature to get rid of any foodborne illness bacteria.
- Keep finger sandwiches, cheese platters, fruit or tossed salads, cold pasta dishes with meat, poultry, or seafood, and cream pies or cakes with whipped-cream and cream-cheese frostings chilled until serving time.
- Don’t let those types of foods sit out too long after taking them out of the refrigerator. They should not sit out for more than two hours.