Even though it’s not an official holiday, Halloween is much beloved by children and adults alike. What could be more fun than trick-or-treating, apple bobbing, or costume parties? To make sure treats are safe for children, follow these simple steps:
Snacking: Children shouldn’t snack on treats from their goody bags while they’re out trick-or-treating. Give them a light meal or snack before they head out – don’t send them out on an empty stomach. Urge them to wait until they get home and let you inspect their loot before they eat any of it.
Safe treats: Tell children not to accept – and especially not to eat – anything that isn’t commercially wrapped. Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.
Food Allergies: If your child has a food allergy, check the label to ensure the allergen isn’t present. Do not allow the child to eat any home-baked goods he or she may have received.
Choking hazards: If you have very young children, be sure to remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys.
Bobbing for apples is an all-time favorite Halloween game. Here are a couple of ways to say “boo” to bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.
Reduce the number of bacteria that might be present on apples and other raw fruits and vegetables by thoroughly rinsing them under cool running water. As an added precaution, use a produce brush to remove surface dirt.
Try this new spin on apple bobbing from FightBAC.org: Cut out lots of apples from red construction paper. On each apple, write activities for kids, such as “do 5 jumping jacks.” Place a paper clip on each apple and put them in a large basket. Tie a magnet to a string. Let the children take turns “bobbing” with their magnet and doing the activity written on their apple. Give children a fresh apple for participating.
If your idea of Halloween fun is a party at home, don’t forget these tips:
Beware of spooky cider! Unpasteurized juice or cider can contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella. To stay safe, always serve pasteurized products at your parties.
No matter how tempting, don't taste raw cookie dough or cake batter that contain uncooked eggs.
“Scare" bacteria away by keeping all perishable foods chilled until serving time. These include finger sandwiches, cheese platters, fruit or tossed salads, cold pasta dishes with meat, poultry, or seafood, and cream pies or cakes with whipped-cream and cream-cheese frostings.
Bacteria will creep up on you if you let foods sit out too long. Don’t leave perishable goodies out of the fridge for more than two hours (1 hour in temperatures above 90°F).
HALLOWEEN HEALTH AND SAFETY TIPS
Fall celebrations like Halloween and Harvest Day are fun times for children, who can dress up in costumes, enjoy parties, and eat yummy treats. These celebrations also provide a chance to give out healthy snacks, get physical activity, and focus on safety. Check out these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for trick-or-treaters and party guests.
Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. WALK and don’t run from house to house.
Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.
Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible.
Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers.
Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.
Follow these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for everyone:
Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks. For guests, offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.
Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could cause someone to fall.
Keep candle-lit jack o’lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
Remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely.