AUBURN, Ala.- It is Halloween — time to dress up as your favorite princess or superhero! Children look forward to roaming neighborhoods for free candy the whole year. However, with great fun comes great responsibility. There are many food and clothing safety precautions that parents and homeowners should take before planning trick or treat adventures.
Leigh Akins, a family and child development specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, said, “The excitement of both children and homeowners at this time of year can make them forget to be careful. Simple common sense can do a lot to stop any tragedies from happening.”
Akins provides clothing and general safety tips for trick-or-treaters, parents and homeowners.
- Choose costumes that are bright and reflective. Reflective tape may be an option.
- Try makeup instead of a mask. Masks can block your child’s vision.
- Use only flexible knives and swords as props.
- Each child should carry a flashlight.
- Advise children to stay away from the jack-o-lanterns on porches or in yards. Costumes, especially long ones, can catch on fire.
- Only go to neighborhoods you are familiar with and to homes with the lights on.
- Stay on sidewalks as much as possible. If there are no sidewalks, walk at the farthest edge of the road facing traffic.
- Never enter a stranger’s home or car for a treat.
- Walk- do not run, especially while crossing the street. It is best to cross in a group.
Parents and Homeowners
- Make sure your yard is clear of such things as ladders, hoses, dog leashes or anything that could trip a child.
- Pets can be frightened on Halloween. Put them up to protect them from cars or to keep them from inadvertently biting a trick-or-treater.
- Place candle lit pumpkins well away from the path of trick-or-treaters.
- This may be a good time for you to learn or review CPR skills to aid someone who is choking.
- Remind all household drivers to remain cautious and drive slowly throughout the community.
- Remember safe party guidelines when hosting or attending an adult party.
Bridgette Brannon, a regional Extension agent in food safety and quality with Alabama Cooperative Extension System, provided food safety tips to remember before diving into candy buckets and while hosting Halloween parties.
Candy and Sweets
- Always feed children a light meal or snack before going trick-or-treating. Children will not be as tempted to eat treats until you have time to inspect them.
- Teach kids to only accept commercially wrapped treats, not homemade ones.
- Closely inspect wrappers for signs of tampering prior to eating.
- In case of food allergies, check all labels for allergens to be certain none are present. Do not eat any homemade goods because you don’t know if a food allergen is present in them.
- Wash hands before opening and eating treats.
Parties and Food
- If serving apple cider at the party, be sure to use only pasteurized juice and cider. Unpasteurized juice and cider contains harmful bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella.
- As tempting as it may be, don’t taste raw cookie dough or cake batter containing raw eggs.
- Remember to keep all perishable foods refrigerated until serving, and only leave food out for no more than two hours.
- Bobbing for Apples: Make sure all apples are washed prior to using. Instead of putting all the apples in same bucket where everyone’s mouth will be, try using individual bowls for each person. There are tons of bacteria in the mouth which can be transferred to the water and apples if everyone bobs from shared container.
These are great tips to remember as Halloween approaches. Safety should always be the number one concern for children and adults, but remember to still have fun!
Pumpkin with candy image by Midorie/Shutterstock.com
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