Fitness Facts: Halloween health and safety tips

By Connie Colbert
GCU Director of Health Services

Halloween is Sunday! It can be a fun time for children, families and adults attending parties, but following a few simple tips can make it safe and healthy, too. 

  • Swords, knives and other costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.
  • All costumes, wigs and accessories should be fire-resistant.
  • Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups.
  • 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 makeup 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.
  • Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.
  • A responsible adult should accompany young children on the neighborhood rounds.
  • Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.
  • Wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review a route acceptable to you.
  • Agree on a specific time the child should return home.

A few extras to think about while COVID is still around:

  • Door-to-door trick-or-treating is riskier since it involves interacting with many people. But if you choose to go ahead with the tradition, ask around in advance and find out who in your neighborhood is planning to participate.
  • Keep large groups of kids from crowding around the same door, especially if they are shouting, “Trick or treat!”
  • Giving out candy? Consider wearing gloves and toss the candy, or pre-fill goodie bags for physically distanced pickup on a sanitized table. Look for clever ideas such as making candy chutes, zip lines or other fun ways to get candy to trick-or-treaters while maintaining 6 feet of distance.
  • Parents don’t need to wash or sterilize candy wrappers: Hand hygiene is more important. Remind children that they can dive into their tasty treasures only after returning home and thoroughly washing their hands.

Alternatives to trick or treating can still be fun:

  • How about a spooky scavenger hunt in your yard? Tuck away treats for your children to find, give them flashlights and let the adventure begin.

If you are expecting trick-or-treaters or having party guests, here are a few more tips:

  • 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.

How to stay safe while attending Halloween parties for adults:

  • For the safety of yourself and others, don’t wear a costume that includes anything that could be confused with a real weapon. Don’t wear anything that could be taken as impersonating a police officer, and don’t wear anything too revealing. Remember, the goal of your costume isn’t to make it scary-short or scary-revealing … just scary.
  • Always keep your eye on your drinks. Never let anyone else hold on to your beverage or make you one without watching them very closely.
  • Don’t walk alone at night; always travel in a group and never travel with someone you don’t know.
  • If you live in an apartment or house, know who is staying at your place if you're having guests over. Try to get to know your roommates' guests, too.
  • If you find yourself at a party where you don’t know a lot of people or the crowd seems sketchy, grab your friends and get out. Call it a night or go to a party with more of your friends and people you know.
  • Always carry your cellphone on you.

And finally:

  • Never drink and drive: Halloween is a great time for parties, but sometimes that means drinking. Never get behind the wheel after you've had alcohol.

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Bible Verse

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:26)

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