Halloween has arrived, which means trick-or-treaters will soon flock to the streets to gather candy and show off their costumes. But as fun as this spooky holiday can be, there are a number of health and safety risks that could quickly ruin anyone’s Halloween plans if they’re not addressed. Fortunately, just a few quick precautions will ensure that everyone enjoys themselves and stays out of their doctor’s office this Halloween.
Halloween & Your Health
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone says “Halloween?” We’re willing to bet it’s candy. Halloween candy can quickly upset your healthy living goals if you don’t take a few steps to prepare for the influx of sweet treats this holiday brings. Don’t let this happen to you. Instead, follow these basic health guidelines so that the holiday doesn’t derail your healthy living efforts:
Eat a well-balanced meal before going out for trick-or-treating or to a party tonight. This will help ensure that no one overindulges in their sweet tooth by snacking throughout the night.
If you’re giving out candy or offering snacks at a party, hand out smaller pieces rather than king-sized bars – this instant portion control will help people stay on track and avoid eating too much candy in one night.
If your children go trick-or-treating, have them leave their collection of treats in their bags until the end of the night. Once home, have them select a limited number of items to eat that night. After that, their trick-or-treating candy should be stored out of reach (and out of sight); this way, you can ration their sweet treats during the coming days without worrying about them eating too many behind your back.
Halloween & Your Safety
While the food we eat on Halloween definitely affects our ability to enjoy the holiday in a healthy way, trick-or-treating also poses a number of health and safety risks. Even if you’re staying indoors for the night there are precautions you need to take to ensure that you, your children, and local trick-or-treaters are able to enjoy the holiday without any problems. So whether you’re spending Halloween out and about or simply handing out candy, make sure you take appropriate action to prepare for tonight:
1. Trick-Or-Treating Safely This Halloween
In addition to reminding children to follow basic safety rules such as walking rather than running in the dark, as well as looking both ways before crossing the street, parents should do the following to prepare for trick-or-treating tonight:
Check your child’s costume before they go out to make sure that it doesn’t create any safety hazards for your children. For example, shoes should be comfortable - not too tight or too loose. Additionally, costumes shouldn’t drag on the ground since this creates a tripping hazard and could even become a fire risk near flaming jack-o'-lanterns. Check props such as swords to ensure they aren’t sharp enough to hurt someone by accident. Finally, accessories such as hats and masks should fit properly, meaning they don’t flop around or slide down a child’s face or obscure a child’s ability to see.
Don’t let your children walk through their neighborhoods alone – parents or a trusted adult should always go trick-or-treating with younger children. Going in a chaperoned group is also recommended, especially if your child is 12 years old or younger.
Always bring a flashlight or a fully charged smartphone with a flashlight app when you go trick-or-treating. While ideally you’ll stick to well-lit streets and sidewalks, sometimes an area you need to walk through will be poorly lit. Walking in the dark can be quite dangerous and the last thing you or your children want to do is trip over an uneven sidewalk or loose Halloween decorations. A light will also make you more visible to motorists when you cross the street.
Make sure that your child’s costume and/or trick-or-treating bag have several strips of reflective tape on them; this will make trick-or-treaters more visible to motorists or regular pedestrians.
Stick to the sidewalks whenever possible. If you absolutely have to walk on a road, walk on the farthest edge of it against traffic.
2. Home Safety Guidelines For This Halloween
Halloween health and safety guidelines aren’t just for trick-or-treaters! If you’re staying indoors and handing out candy, make sure that you:
Remove loose items such as bicycles, garden hoses, toys, and lawn decorations from your porch and yard. Items like these could trip little trick-or-treaters coming up to your door.
Keep your home and the paths to it well lit. Halloween may be a spooky holiday, but the last thing you want is to hear that a child tripped and hurt themselves because they couldn’t see very well in the dark.
Sweep and clear away wet leaves and other things that can create a slippery surface on your sidewalk and porch. If it’s dark and someone is wearing costume-appropriate shoes, they may not be able to catch their balance and avoid slipping. Clearing away a potential hazard is a big help for these individuals!
If you have pets, do everyone a favor and separate them from the Halloween festivities. Be sure that they’re restrained or kept in a room far away from any trick-or-treaters so that they don’t jump onto a trick-or-treater or even run away in fright. An accident or runaway would quickly ruin anyone’s Halloween plans!
Whether you plan to go trick-or-treating or enjoy an evening indoors, we encourage everyone to take the appropriate steps to prepare for tonight’s festivities. By following guidelines such as these, you and your family can all celebrate and enjoy Halloween together in a way that won’t lead to serious injuries or interfere with your healthy living goals.