How to stay safe & healthy on Halloween

There's a sharp increase of RSV cases in the Omaha-metro according to the Douglas County Health Department.
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 7:51 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Nebraska Medicine is getting the word out about how to stay safe and healthy this Halloween.

They suggest parents focus on six main concerns:

VISIBILITY

Make sure kids carry flashlights or glow sticks, and use reflective tape on their costumes and treat containers.

COSTUME SAFETY

“Dressing up is part of the fun, but consider costume safety before the big day,” Nebraska Medicine advises.

Stick with bright colors if possible, and use flame-resistant fabrics and accessories. Make sure the costumes fit them properly so they don’t fall, and that they can see through masks that cover their face.

Use nontoxic make-up materials — the FDA has a list of color additives that are safe for use in cosmetics — and be sure they won’t trigger an allergy. Experts also suggest you avoid wearing decorative colored contact lenses not obtained from a qualified eyecare professional.

“Decorative contact lenses sold in costume stores or other retail stores without a prescription are illegal and could cause harm. These are contact lenses that have not been approved by the FDA for safety and effectiveness,” the FDA’s website states.

SUPERVISION

Nebraska Medicine reminds parents that there is safety in numbers, but suggests that an adult should accompany kids — but particularly those younger than age 12 — making their way through any neighborhoods.

“Consider trick-or-treating with another family,” their release states.

TREATS

“Halloween isn’t much without treats, but taking precautions will keep the scary away,” Nebraska Medicine says.

Don’t eat treats before you get home and get a closer look. Be sure to inspect your child’s candy and remove any possible choking hazards before letting them eat any of it. Watch for signs of tampering, like pinholes or tears. If something seems off, just throw it away.

Assume any candy you get has been touched by unclean hands, and wash your hands after opening — but before eating — your treats.

While the odds are you won’t encounter it, be aware of what rainbow fentanyl or cannabis gummys might look like so you know what to watch for.

You can also watch for turquoise pumpkins, which signal trick-or-treaters that the residents there are handing out non-edible items or allergy-safe treats.

AWARENESS

“Teach — and remind — your kids to steer clear of danger before they venture out,” the release states.

Stay away from animals and strange pets, and never go into a stranger’s house or vehicle.

“If you don’t know them, avoid them.”

Be aware of vehicles that might be turning around or backing up. Keep your head up and devices in your pocket, being sure to make eye contact with drivers so you know they see you.

For parents with older children, make sure you know what route they’ll be taking and when you should expect them to arrive home.

HEALTH PRECAUTIONS

Noting that respiratory infections have been on the rise here, Nebraska Medicine reminded parents that “Halloween tends to be a social holiday,” and to do what they can to limit the spread of germs.

If you’re not feeling well, don’t open the door for trick-or-treaters.

“Turn off your light and practice social distancing.”

Rather than letting every kid reach into a bowl of treats, use a scoop to pass them out, get creative with a candy slide, or set out treat bags for them to grab.

And if you’re not sure about venturing out, consider hosting a small gathering with family or those in your close circle at home instead. Make it a movie or game night, decorate cupcakes, or put together a scavenger hunt.

“Any holiday is what you make of it, so whether inside or outside, make it safe and healthy.”