Share The Health

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!

10-23-2019

No tricks here. Frederick Health wants you to have the healthiest, happiest Halloween this year. That means taking a few extra safety precautions when dressing up and trick-or-treating, indulging in sweets, driving near trick-or-treating trails, and hosting spooky celebrations. Before you celebrate all this haunting holiday has to offer, read and then share these tips with your children and loved ones.

Get Ready for a SAFE HALLOWEEN

Trick-or-treating this year? Consider the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s acronym to help make the festivities fun and safe while out and about.

S Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.

A Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult, and make sure children are always supervised.

F Fasten reflective tape or lights to costumes and bags so passing drivers can easily see you.

E Examine all treats before eating them. Have a trusted adult check for choking hazards and signs of tampering and limit the number of treats you eat.

H Hold a flashlight to help other people see you. Walk, don’t run, from house to house along your route.

A Always do a skin test of Halloween make-up before applying a full face. Remove it before bedtime to prevent skin irritations.

L Look both ways before crossing the street, and always use crosswalks.

L Lower your risk for eye injuries—avoid decorative contact lenses and other vision-restricting accessories.

O Only walk on sidewalks. If unavailable, stick to the far edge of the road always facing oncoming traffic.

W Wear masks, costumes, and shoes that fit well. Oversized or tight costumes can block vision or cause trips, falls, and skin irritations.

E Eat only factory wrapped treats. Do not eat homemade treats from strangers.

E Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Never approach a dark or dim house alone or accept rides from strangers.

N Never walk or run near lit candles or luminaries. Make sure your costume is flame-resistant, too.

When in doubt, here’s a checklist of items you should carry with you or wear while trick-or-treating:

  • Cell phone to call 9-1-1 or a trusted adult, in case of an emergency
  • Comfy walking shoes
  • Emergency contact information or ID card
  • First aid kit in case of a medical emergency
  • Flashlight, glow stick, or reflective strips of tape for visibility
  • Trick-or-treat bag for candy
  • Trick-or-treating neighborhood map or directions, if needed
  • Warm clothes, appropriate for current weather conditions
  • Water bottle to stay hydrated
  • Well-fitting clothes or costume

Treats, Not Tricks

As tempting as it may be to dig into the candy stash immediately, wait until all treats have been checked properly before indulging. Tampering is rare, but it can happen. Here are a few words of wisdom when dealing with Halloween treats.

  • Check all candy wrappers carefully. Any tears, extra-loose wrappers, or holes can indicate possible tampering. Throw these candies away immediately.
  • Don’t go batty for sugary treats, but if you do, always brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste immediately after. Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic childhood conditions, made worse by sugary treats. Floss every day.
  • If your child has food allergies—nuts, dairy, etc.—check all labels carefully before consuming.
  • Make sure your child has a healthy, filling meal before trick-or-treating. This will give them plenty of energy for the night ahead while also discouraging them from getting hungry and snacking on candy before it’s inspected at home.
  • Pay attention to expiration dates. Dispose of leftover Halloween candy before it goes bad.
  • Regulate your child’s candy intake. One or two treats per day for the days and weeks following Halloween should suffice.
  • Stress the importance of your child not eating any treats until they return home and they’ve been inspected by an adult.

Hosting the Halloween Fun?

If you’re planning a Halloween party or handing out candy this year, here are a few tips to help make the festivities safe and fun for everyone.

  • Consider healthier options for trick-or-treaters. These can include low-calorie treats and drinks, or even smaller, bite-sized versions of popular candies. Or, consider handing out non-edible items like glow sticks, bouncing balls, stickers or stamps, temporary tattoos, or spider rings. If hosting a party, balance the spread with a variety of fruits and vegetables options in addition to sweets. Get creative—banana ghosts, apple monster mouths, and carrot witch fingers are spooky but healthy!
  • If you’re planning frightening fun, give your guests a heads up. Let them know if they should expect any scary scenes at your shindig, or consider a lighter, kid-friendly version for the youngsters.
  • Maintain visibility in all walking areas and staircases. Remove any obstacles or directions that could cause someone to fall.
  • Planning party games? Why not make playtime active time? Help kids (and adults, too) get their daily dose of physical activity with Halloween tag, relay races, scavenger hunts, and dances.
  • Remind guests, especially those driving, to watch out for trick-or-treaters and drive safely throughout your neighborhood.
  • Remove candles, jack-o-lanterns, and luminaries from doorsteps, walkways, staircases, curtains, and other areas that could prevent a fire hazard. Place them on sturdy surfaces, out of reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
  • Rethink your drinks. Many beverages like soda, tea, and even some fruit juices are loaded with sugar, too. Cutting back on sugary treats also means cutting back on soda and sugar-sweetened beverages, too. Consider making a healthy Halloween-themed punch or giving any of these suggestions from our friends at LiveWell Frederick a try!

Out and About on Halloween?

Here’s a scary statistic. According to the National Safety Council, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Trick-or-treaters aren’t the only ones who should practice caution on Halloween. If you’re driving on Halloween, consider these safety tips near roadways.

  • Be cautious and stay alert at all times. Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly.
  • Don’t rush—be prepared to stop at any moment. Some trick-or-treaters may ignore crosswalks and traffic signals, so stay alert. Do not pass vehicles stopped as they may be waiting for a crossing pedestrian.
  • Never drive under the influence. Every 48 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies in a motor vehicle accident caused by an alcohol-impaired driver.
  • Properly buckle all children in their car seats, booster seats, or seat belts—no matter how short the trip. Make sure that costumes do not interfere with buckling.
  • Refrain from distracted driving. Put your phone and other electronic devices in the glove box, back seat, or purse and away from your line of view while driving.
  • Watch your speed. Pay attention to the speed limit and drive slower when you’re around pedestrians.

Frederick Health wishes you a happy and safe Halloween. As always, if you encounter any problems or safety concerns, our emergency department or urgent care locations are available to you and your family. Stay spooky!