Tricks for a safe Halloween

Follow these tips to help you and your family have a safe and healthy Halloween.

Halloween is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. People would conduct souling and guising which included the needy begging for pastry cakes and in return praying for deceased relatives and receiving food, wine and coins for dressing in disguises and performing in front of people. These traditions slowly transformed into what we know today as Halloween.

Halloween is a fun time of year, dressing up and traveling door to door to receive treats, carving pumpkins and enjoying many tasty goodies. Below are some safety tips from the Michigan Primary Care Consortium to help you enjoy a safe and happy Halloween.

Pumpkin carving

  • Paint or decorate pumpkins instead of carving them with younger children.
  • Place lit, carved pumpkins on a flat, sturdy surface away from flammable objects.
  • You can opt to light your pumpkins with battery-powered candles or lights.

Costumes

  • Bright colors and flame retardant material is best advised.
  • Consider adding reflective tape to bags or costumes.
  • Size costume right for warm clothing if the weather is chilly.
  • If you can, bypass the mask (they slip and obstruct vision) and use kid-friendly make-up.
  • Limit accessories that may be dangerous such as swords and knives.

Trick or treating

  • If welcoming trick-or-treaters, have adequate lighting.
  • Keep pets away from the doorway to avoid any confrontations.
  • Younger children should always trick or treat with a trusted and responsible adult.
  • Carry a flashlight, watch, cell phone and an extra bag in case one rips.
  • Walk, don’t run. Stay on sidewalks and not in the streets and cross in designated crosswalk areas.
  • Only visit households or businesses with their lights on.
  • Accept treats at the doorway. Never enter a residence that you do not know.
  • Establish ground rules prior to trick or treating – time frames, travel area, etc.
  • Consider giving out stickers, rubber toys, colored chalk or unsharpened pencils instead of sugary treats.

Examine treats

  • Don’t snack out of your bag of treats while trick or treating. Have dinner before heading out.
  • Help your child inspect treats before consuming. Anything unusual should be discarded. Homemade treats should be avoided.
  • Inspect treat bag before consuming if there is a food allergy.
  • Choking hazards include peanuts, gum, hard candies, etc.
  • Ration the treats and consider having a candy swap.

Enjoy your Halloween and stay safe. The Michigan Primary Care Consortium is a statewide, multi-stakeholder non-profit corporation leading Michigan’s transformation efforts by ensuring sustainability, quality, and accessible primary care. Visit www.mipcc.org for more information.

For more information on healthy lifestyles, visit Michigan State University Extension.


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