Categories: Health
      Date: Oct  1, 2007
     Title: Frightfully Fun

Celebrate Halloween safely - at home or in the neighborhood

By Sami Arseculeratne Martinez

When parents think of dangers associated with Halloween, their thoughts go to candy tainted with poison or razor blades hidden in apples. But according to Snopes.com, the Internet urban-legend buster, many of the tampered candy reports are either myths or hysteria over injuries caused by something other than poison or sharp objects hidden in candy by strangers.



When parents think of dangers associated with Halloween, their thoughts go to candy tainted with poison or razor blades hidden in apples. But according to Snopes.com, the Internet urban-legend buster, many of the tampered candy reports are either myths or hysteria over injuries caused by something other than poison or sharp objects hidden in candy by strangers.

The real dangers are unsafe costumes, accidents with vehicles, and open flames--things we often overlook when imagining Halloween horrors.

According to Safe Kids USA, part of a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental injury in children, Oct. 31 is the most dangerous day of the year for child pedestrians. Children are four times more likely to be killed while walking on Halloween than any other night of the year.


This year, with Daylight Saving Time extended, our clocks won't be set back until Nov. 4, giving trick-or-treaters more time before dark. Older kids don't want to go out until after dark, so teaching your child pedestrian safety becomes even more important.

Costumes, which children are usually unaccustomed to wearing, can pose hazards, either by trailing edges that might come in contact with open flames, or by loose-fitting masks or head coverings that limit vision. Look for "flame resistant" labeling when buying costumes, masks, beards and wigs. Trim or shorten costumes with long, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts and robes as they are more likely to brush near the candle in a jack o' lantern or cause your child to trip. Try applying face paint or makeup directly to your child's face rather than using a mask that is ill-fitting or can slide over the eyes.

Make your own home is safe and welcoming for trick-or-treaters with a well-lit porch or walkway. Keep lit candles in pumpkins out of reach or simply replace them with glow sticks or flameless candles. Keep traffic areas clear of obstructions and remove or move aside lawn ornaments, flower pots or other things that are hard to see in the dark.

Although candy tampering is rare, look over your child's trick-or-treat candy before eating. Watch for opened wrappers, and other signs of tampering. Avoid choking by not giving hard candy or small round items to children under age 6.

Alternatives to Trick-or-Treating