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Health eTips is produced by the staff of the St. Charles County Department of Public Health. The department consists of three divisions - Environmental Health and Protection, Health Services and Humane Services - that provide a wide range of services focused on enhancing the well-being of this community.

If you have questions about the Department of Public Health or have suggestions on public health topics you'd like to see explored in this blog, please email us.

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Oct 25

Halloween Safety

Posted on October 25, 2017 at 10:24 AM by Doug Bolnick


MAKE HALLOWEEN LESS SCARY


scary pumpkins
With tasty treats, colorful costumes and dreadful decorations, Halloween is a fun-filled holiday for kids and parents alike. However, this fall festivity can pose several dangers to young revelers. Here are a few quick and easy precautions to help your little ghosts and goblins enjoy a hauntingly happy and safe Halloween.


Tips for Your Princesses and Pirates

Walking the neighborhood to collect treats is a hallmark of the Halloween celebration. Selecting the right costume will make the journey more manageable and ensure a memorable night.
  • Proper size minimizes opportunities for trips and falls.
  • A good mask allows for clear vision and ventilation.
  • Avoid oversized or uncomfortable shoes to allow easy movement on the long trek through the neighborhood.
  • Choose a brightly colored costume, glow sticks or reflective material for your walk, so that children and parents are seen more easily in the dark.
  • Make sure that props your child carries (wands, swords, canes, etc.) are safe, dull and flexible to minimize risk for injury.
  • Select fire-resistant costumes, wigs and accessories and only choose non-toxic makeup. Be sure to remove all makeup before kids go to sleep to prevent skin irritation.

Tips for Trick-or-Treating

To make certain your trick-or-treaters are safe, families should stick together in groups and only visit the homes of those you know. Check to see that your costumed cuties can see clearly and be seen by others throughout the evening.
Halloween_safe trick or treat
  • Pair up with others and use the buddy system to stick together for safety.
  • Make sure that kids know to never go inside strangers’ homes or cars.
  • Carry a flashlight with extra batteries to walk safely in the dark. Only cross at designated crosswalks or stops. Do not enter roadways between parked cars.
  • Set a time in advance for everyone to return home. Have children use a cell phone to alert others in case of emergency.
  • Before eating treats, check them to make sure they’re safely sealed and show no signs of tampering. If a treat looks questionable, it’s best to throw it away.
  • When driving in the neighborhood, reduce speeds and be aware. Children are twice as likely to be struck by vehicles while trick-or-treating.

Tips for Haunting Home Displays 

Keep your yard and home safe and inviting for those coming to visit. Keep sidewalks and walkways clear of debris. Remember that young children can scare easily — what may be fun for you could lead to endless nightmares for others.
  • Remove lawn decorations, toys, bicycles and other items that may block walkways.
  • Provide a well-lit and inviting entrance to your home, if you intend to take part in trick-or-treating. Leaving a porch light on is a universal invitation for Halloween visitors.
  • Consider food allergies when offering treats.

Tips for Jack-o-Lanterns
Halloween_mom and son pumpkin carving
A time-honored tradition is the family get-together to decorate pumpkins for display on the front porch. Take time to make the experience safe and fun for all.
  • Instead of giving children sharp knives, have them draw or paint their design on the pumpkin. Let adults carve out the design.
  • Keep kids and pets at a safe distance while carving to avoid accidental injuries from sharp objects.
  • After opening a “lid,” give kids a spoon to scoop out the guts. Or, let them use their hands for added fun.
  • Be sure to collect and wash the seeds for a tasty, yet healthy, treat.
  • Consider skipping candles and choose a safer option like glow sticks or flameless candles to prevent uncontrolled fires.

Tips for Four-Legged Friends

Halloween decorations and busy activity can cause stress and injury to our furry friends. Consider your pet's well-being when celebrating this season, and offer a calm, dark getaway from the action.
  • Continuous doorbells may overwhelm even the calmest pet. Keep dogs and cats in a quiet part of the house, away from doors and other exits.
  • Scary masks and shiny costumes can spook your pets and hide familiar smells. Leave pets at home while walking the neighborhood.
  • Chocolate and other tasty morsels can be tempting, yet toxic, treats for your pet. Secure all candy and wrappers to prevent upset stomachs and serious complications.

Happy Halloween from the St. Charles County Department of Public Health!

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Seatbelt use by family