What’s not to love about Halloween? A night of dressing-up, time with friends, munching on sweet treats and to top it all off—just touch of terror. And when you’re younger, the spooky side of Halloween is what makes it so fun. But when you’re older, and a parent, you realize just how scary Halloween can be. Instead of thinking about how much candy you’ll get while trick-or-treating, you’re thinking about all the lurking health hazards.
Allergies? Unsafe costumes? Trick-or-treating dangers? Don’t be ghoulish! Here’s what you need to know to make sure your Halloween’s a real hoot for all of your little ghosts and goblins.
Health Hazard #1: Food Allergies. For kids with allergies, Halloween may mean a lot more tricks than treats. But because 1 in 13 children has some sort of food allergy, awareness and support continue to grow. Unfortunately, though, the most common food allergies are some of the top ingredients in Halloween candy, with milk, peanuts and wheat at the top of the list.
Health Tip: Whether your child has allergies, or you’re trying to support others in your neighborhood that do, it’s a good idea to know what candies are allergy-friendly.
Some examples include: Mike and Ikes (seasonal mix included), Skittles (seasonal flavors included), Starbursts, Smarties and Ring Pops. You could also go non-traditional and give away fun stickers or temporary tattoos.
Health Hazard #2: Costumes. When you’re picking out a costume, cuteness shouldn’t be your only focus. If the costume is too big or comes with a mask, it can be scary in more than one way.
Health Tip: While it’s ok if your child’s costume isn’t form fitting, you’ll want to be sure that there aren’t any parts of it that make walking difficult or could be a tripping hazard.
As far as masks go, some of the most popular costumes this year—Spiderman, Batman, Ironman, Darth Vader …you get the point—include masks, so be sure that these don’t obstruct breathing or vision. A good way to test this is to be sure you can see your child’s eyes through the mask, or better yet try it on yourself (if it fits of course).
Health Hazard #3: Makeup. Halloween makeup is becoming so popular it’s spooky. After spending just a few minutes searching for Halloween ideas, you’ll take notice of all the creative makeup looks—the perfect addition to any costume. However, what you may not be seeing are all the potentially harmful chemicals found in many of these products that can cause anything from dermatitis to lead poisoning.
Health Tip: Of course, the safest option is to avoid costume makeup all together, but since that isn’t necessarily realistic, remember these guidelines:
· Do small patch test on their arm before putting it on their face to make sure that they aren’t allergic
· Don’t share makeup products to avoid cross contamination
· When available, opt for theater makeup instead, as it is made with better ingredients
· Look for oil-free, alcohol-free and non-comedogenic products
· Choose products made by companies that you trust and have used before
· Be mindful of putting makeup in extra sensitive areas, like around the eyes and mouth, as it may cause irritation.
Health Hazard #4: Trick-or-treating. There’s no trick to staying safe this Halloween, but there are a few essential pedestrian safety tips everyone should know:
· Make costumes visible by using reflective tape or stickers, or wearing bright colors
· Utilize traffic signals and crosswalks. Remember, sidewalks are your best friend when trick-or-treating
· Find strength in numbers. Your child shouldn’t be trick-or-treating alone, especially if they are under the age of 12
· Bring a flashlight, glow stick or phone along with you so that you can clearly see in the dark
Health Hazard #5: Not getting care. To avoid a real fright night, if you or your child needs medical care, you can count on ChoiceOne Urgent Care. Whether it’s an allergic reaction, a broken bone or an infection, the experts at ChoiceOne can help. These specialists are available seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., at a convenient location near you. ChoiceOne will get you back to your Halloween fun faster than you can say jack-o-lantern.