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Make Halloween a Safe Holiday

October 27, 2010

OLYMPIA (Department of Health news release) - Fright is part of the Halloween experience, but the holiday's a lot more fun for everyone if the only scares come from imaginary ghosts and goblins. A few simple safeguards can help keep the danger out of what should be an exciting, enjoyable autumn ritual.

Before trick-or-treating:

Be sure children's masks and costumes give them clear vision and freedom to move. Sturdy shoes that give good support are important; even for little princesses, mom's high heels aren't a good idea.

Test makeup on a small area of skin to find out whether it causes irritation.

Put reflective tape on costumes and bags so drivers can see youngsters more easily.

Be sure swords, knives and other accessories are short, soft and flexible.

Arrange for trick-or-treaters to travel with adults or in groups, never alone.

Feed children healthy dinners so they'll be less likely to gorge on treats.

Equip trick-or-treaters with flashlights so they can find their way in the dark (and, of course, so they can keep an eye out for otherworldly creatures).

When you're out:

Twice as many children are killed while walking on Halloween as on other days, according to Safe Kids USA. Keep kids on sidewalks when possible, look both ways before crossing streets, walk facing traffic, and cross at crosswalks.

Let children enter homes only if they're with a trusted adult.

Go only to homes where a porch light is on.

Immediately tell police about suspicious or illegal activity.

Avoid houses where you see or hear barking or aggressive dogs.

When you're at home:

When little boys and ghouls "trick or treat" at your house, think about giving healthy treats such as individual, commercially wrapped packs of raisins, trail mix or pretzels.

For party guests, offer a healthy variety of fruits and vegetables.

Provide a clear, well-lit route to the door, free of decorative obstacles.

Keep dogs away from the door and other places where people will gather.

Keep candlelit jack-o'-lanterns away from spots where they could tip over, exposing children to flame or hot wax.

When children bring home treats, check them carefully to make certain they haven't been tampered with. Discard any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.

It's Halloween, after all. Many kids are going to eat candy. Try to limit how much they eat at one time. Ration it out over a period of days. Make sure children brush their teeth regularly so they don't have a jack-o'-lantern smile next Halloween!

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