Be Spooky Safely – A Guide to Having a Happy Halloween

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Be Spooky Safely – A Guide to Having a Happy Halloween

It’s just about time for the spookiest night of the year — Halloween. On October 31, kids of all ages will dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating, hoping to take home a huge stash of candy.

Halloween is a much-loved time of the year across the country and while there is a great deal of fun to be had, some simple safety tips can mean the difference between a family-friendly celebration and a trip to the emergency room.

Halloween is one of the busiest times of the year for emergency rooms and there are approximately 4,500 Halloween-related injuries and accidents every year. These injuries and accidents include:

  • Pumpkin carving accidents
  • Falls
  • Allergic reactions
  • Car accidents
  • Burns

So, what can you do to keep your kids both happy and safe this Halloween? The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Ryan Brown, M.D., a physician in the Emergency Department at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital OU Health, recommend the following safety tips and guidelines.

Candy and Sweet Treats

One of the most fun parts of Halloween is the candy. But candy should never be eaten until it has been taken home and thoroughly inspected.

  • Food allergies from peanuts or chemical colors are a concern for children. Take precautions by inspecting everything your child is given and if you are unsure of ingredients, take no chances.
  • Enhance safety by checking wrapped treats for any signs of tampering and check the ingredient list for potential allergens.
  • In order to avoid the temptation of eating the candy, give your child a safe treat to eat before they go out and supervise what they’re eating, regardless of their age.
  • After trick-or-treating, help your children enjoy the candy for days to come. Divide the candy up and put it into small baggies so that you can control the daily limit and ensure that the kids can’t gorge on the entire stash in one go.

Costume Safety

Unfortunately, kids have more than double the chance of being hit by a car and killed on Halloween than at any other time of year. Lighting is limited at night and kids in dark costumes are very difficult to see.

  • Fasten reflective tape to costumes and give them glow sticks to carry. This will increase visibility.
  • Ensure that all costumes are fire-resistant and choose non-toxic makeup rather than masks which can reduce vision. It can be tempting to let sleepy children go to bed with their make-up on, but removing it will help prevent any skin or eye irritation.
  • Make sure your kids try on their costumes before they go out and check they can move freely.
  • A really important and often overlooked part of every costume is shoes. Comfortable shoes are a must when trick-or-treating as the last thing anyone needs are sore little feet and having to cut short the festivities.

Stranger Danger

Halloween is a family night, but don’t forget safety precautions in the height of the excitement.

  • Always accompany children.
  • Ensure your children never enter a stranger’s home.
  • Teach your kids never to get into a stranger’s car.
  • Agree on a specific route and time for older kids to be home.
  • Stick to well-lit and familiar areas.
  • Stay on the side-walk and teach your kids that the road safety rules still apply on Halloween.

Practice Safe Hygiene

One thing COVID-19 has taught us is that safe hygiene practices are for everyone.

  • Ensure your hands are washed frequently, especially when you get back home after trick-or-treating and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Carry some hand sanitizer with you and use as necessary for you and the kids.

Have Fun!

Safety tips are probably not the first thing on your mind on Halloween. “Just because you’re taking safety precautions doesn’t mean you can’t have fun,” said Dr. Brown. “Halloween is a fantastic time of the year and we want it to be accident-free. The more prepared you are, the better it will be.”

If you run into any issues, know the nearest Emergency Room or virtual or in-person Urgent Care.