Are you ready for Halloween? Besides Christmas and birthdays, most children (and a lot of adults!) really look forward to Halloween. After all, how many times a year can you get by with dressing as your favorite character and eating candy for a few days or until your sack runs out?
Enjoy a safe and happy Halloween by following the “lucky 13” guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
2. Wear bright, reflective costumes or add strips of reflective tape so you’ll be more visible. Make sure that costumes aren’t so long that you’re in danger of tripping.
3. Wear makeup and hats rather than masks that can obscure your vision.
4. Test any makeup you plan to use by putting a small amount on the arm of the person who will be wearing it. This should be done at least a few days in advance. If a rash, redness, swelling or other signs of irritation develop, it’s probably a sign of an allergy.
5. Check the FDA’s list of color additives (www.fda.gov) to see if makeup is FDA approved. If they aren’t approved for their intended use, don’t use it.
6. Don’t wear decorative contact lenses unless you have seen an eye care professional and gotten a proper lens fitting and instructions for using the lenses. Eating sweet treats is a big part of the fun on Halloween. If you’re trick or treating, health and safety experts say you should remember these tips:
7. Don’t eat candy or other foods until it’s been inspected at home.
8. Eat a snack before heading out so that you won’t be tempted to nibble on treats before they are inspected.
9. Tell children not to accept or eat anything that isn’t commercially wrapped.
10. Remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys if you have very young children.
11. 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.
If you the designated one to stay home and pass out candy to the neighborhood children, make sure your yard is clear of such things as ladders, water hoses, dog leashes and flower pots that can trip young children. Remember that pets may become frightened. Put them up to protect them from cars or biting a trick-or-treater. Battery powered candles or glow sticks are preferable to a real flame for your Jack-o-lantern. If you do use candles, place the pumpkin well away where children will be walking or standing. It’s a good idea to carve your Jack-o-lantern with the opening at the bottom of the pumpkin, not at the top as most of us do. If you make it in this manner, you can put a glow stick or flameless candle on the ground or in a small container and set the pumpkin on top.
If you prefer healthy food alternatives to candy, try packages of low-fat crackers with cheese or peanut butter filling, single-serve boxes of cereal, packaged fruit roll-ups, mini boxes of raisins or single serve packets of popcorn that can be microwaved later. Even non-food treats can be given to trick-or-treaters: plastic rings, pencils, stickers, erasers, etc.
Have a safe and fun Halloween!
Carrie T. Brazeal is the County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. She may be reached at email@example.com or 972.424.1460, Ext. 4233.