Halloween is a time for tasty treats, inventive costumes, and spooky fun. But it can also be a time for potential hazards, such as illness, injury, or accidents. To make sure you and your family have a safe and enjoyable Halloween in 2023, follow these tips from the Benton Franklin Health District (BF HD):
The COVID-19 pandemic is still a problem in 2023. To protect yourself and others from the virus, follow these guidelines:
- If you haven’t already and you’re eligible, get vaccinated. The best defense against COVID-19-related serious illness and mortality is vaccination.
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth when you are in public places, especially indoors or in crowded areas. Choose a mask that fits well and does not interfere with your vision or breathing. You can also incorporate your mask into your costume, such as a superhero, a ninja, or a doctor.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath. If you or anyone in your household is sick or has been exposed to the virus, stay home and do not participate in any Halloween activities.
- If water and soap aren’t readily accessible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Wash your hands periodically with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Do this before and after touching your face, eating, or handling candy or other items.
- Practice social distancing and limit the size and duration of gatherings. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from people who are not from your household. Avoid large parties or events where physical distancing is not possible.
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Costumes are an essential part of Halloween, but they can pose safety risks. To avoid injuries or accidents, follow these tips:
- Make sure you get a costume that fits properly to prevent accidents. Add reflective tape or stickers on your clothing to make it sparkle. Pick out light-colored clothing to stay visible and ditch those spooky masks that hide your vision.
- Use non-toxic makeup or face paint instead of masks that can obstruct your vision or breathing. Test the makeup on a small area of skin first to check for any allergic reactions. Remove the makeup before going to bed to prevent skin irritation or infection.
- Avoid costumes or accessories that have sharp or pointed edges, such as swords, knives, or wands. Use soft or flexible materials instead, such as cardboard, foam, or plastic.
- If you wear a wig, hat, or scarf, make sure it is securely attached and does not cover your eyes or ears. If you wear glasses, make sure they fit well and do not interfere with your costume.
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Halloween candy and treats can be a source of allergens that may trigger severe reactions in individuals with allergies. To prevent allergic reactions, follow these tips:
- If you have a food allergy, read the labels of all candy and treats before eating them. Look for the ingredients list and the allergen warning statement. If you are not sure about the ingredients or the label is missing or unclear, do not eat the candy or treat.
- If you are giving out candy or treats, consider offering non-food items, such as stickers, pencils, or toys. You can also use a teal pumpkin to indicate that you have allergy-friendly options available.
- If you are hosting or attending a Halloween party, inform the host or guests about your food allergy and ask about the ingredients of the food and drinks. Bring your own safe snacks or treats if you are not sure about the food safety.
- Carry your epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen) or other emergency medication with you at all times. Understand when and how to utilize it. If you have an allergic reaction, use your medication and seek medical attention immediately.
Halloween is a busy night for pedestrians and drivers. To avoid collisions or injuries, follow these tips:
- For the Children: Give your tiny wizards and witches glow sticks or flashlights so they can see and be seen. Check to the left, right, and left again, obey traffic lights, and cross the street at corners. Say no to screens, keep your head up, and cross the street carefully. Watch out for cars, especially the sly ones that reverse or turn around. Avoid going into alleys, driveways, and parked cars.
- For the Drivers: Drive like you’re on a candy hunt – be super vigilantIn residential areas, take it slowly; the best time to trick-or-treat is from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Eliminate distractions from your ride, such as ghostly phone conversations and mindless snacking. Be prepared for the unexpected; kids can pop out from behind shrubs or in between automobiles. Take additional caution when pulling into or out of alleys or driveways.
Before you enjoy your candy loot, make sure it is safe to eat. To avoid choking, tampering, or poisoning, follow these tips:
- Before consuming candy, take a look at your haul and throw away anything that seems odd. Look for any signs of tampering, such as tears, holes, or stains on the wrappers. Discard any unwrapped, homemade, or expired candy or treats.
- Avoid hard candy, gum, nuts, popcorn, or other small or sticky items that can cause choking, especially for young children. Cut or break apart large or long pieces of candy, such as licorice, before eating them.
- Store your candy in a cool, dry place, away from heat, moisture, or pests. Do not store candy in the freezer, as it can become hard and brittle. Keep candy out of reach of pets, as some ingredients, such as chocolate or xylitol, can be toxic to animals.
- Moderation is the magic spell: don’t gobble all your candy in one night. Enjoy your candy in small portions and limit the amount of sugar you consume. Brush your teeth after eating candy or rinse your mouth with water to prevent tooth decay.
Fireworks are a common feature of Halloween celebrations, but they can also be dangerous. To prevent fires, burns, or injuries, follow these tips:
- Check the local laws and regulations regarding fireworks in your area. Some types of fireworks may be illegal or restricted. Only buy fireworks from licensed and reputable dealers.
- Never let children handle or light fireworks. Any time you use fireworks, be sure an adult is watching. For unexpected situations, always have a hose or bucket of water close by.
- Choose a safe and open location to set off fireworks, away from buildings, trees, power lines, or flammable materials. Do not light fireworks near dry grass, leaves, or other combustible materials.
- Follow the instructions on the fireworks package carefully. Do not modify, alter, or combine fireworks. Do not hold fireworks in your hand or point them at yourself or others. Light one firework at a time, then make a swift retreat.
- Do not relight or handle dud fireworks. Wait for 15 minutes and then soak them in water before disposing of them. Dispose of used fireworks in a metal container and keep them away from any heat source.