Oct. 31 marks the one holiday a year where it is appropriate to dress your children up as their favorite character and allow them to collect as much candy as they want.
Halloween, with its spooky decorations and fun fall traditions, is often regarded by people of all ages as their favorite holiday of the year.
With this special holiday, however, there are several health and safety risks typically involved. From walking at night, candy that can cause allergic reactions and a global pandemic, safety for everyone involved is a high priority.
This year, many safety tips are available to those who wish to have a normal Halloween celebration. The following can ensure that you, your family and those you choose to visit can have a healthy, safe and fun Halloween.
COVID-19 and Halloween
This is the second year in a row that Halloween will be affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, so health safety tips such as social distancing and mask wearing are still in play. Many online retailers like Amazon are continuing to sell face masks, which, at the click of a button, can be found to match most anyone’s Halloween costume.
In addition, the CDC also is recommending that those who can do so get the COVID-19 vaccine as an extra layer of protection for young children, who still do not have a vaccine approved for their use.
The CDC recommends continuing to follow the domestic and international travel guidelines it has suggested if you plan to travel for the holiday in any capacity. It also recommends keeping events outdoors so there is ample room to spread out in open air. “Outdoor is safer than indoors,” the CDC says.
Many candy givers also have gotten creative with how they actually pass out the candy during the pandemic. Take TikTok creator and professional puppeteer Brandon Hardy for example. Last year, he created a custom candy shoot that allowed his family to safely pass out candy to trick-or-treaters at a distance.
See Hardy’s Video Here: https://bit.ly/2YX4Gij
Hardy explained in his 1-minute video that his shoot, created to be a puppet replica of the Sandworm from Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice,” was controlled from a second-floor window and had a tube that shot candy down to their guest below.
He also has videos on his page that show off the creation process and extra features added to make the shoot an interactive experience, which can be viewed @brandon.hardy.art on TikTok.
Candy and allergens
Many popular candies, such as Snickers and Reese Cups, contain common food allergies such as peanuts and dairy. Allergic reactions from children eating these candies can result in a range of symptoms such as scratchy throats and hives to anaphylactic shock, and could end a child’s night of fun in an emergency room.
To help keep the fun rolling and ensure that all children can have their fill of candy, consider passing out these candies that are part of a list by allergyawesomeness.com as allergen-free and some of the safest candy:
Mike and Ike
Life Saver Gummies
Sour Patch Kids
Dum Dum Suckers
“Now, as with all things food allergy: PLEASE consult the parent of the food-allergic child before buying or feeding them anything,” the website advises, “Unfortunately, there aren’t many hard and fast rules when it comes to food allergies, and each parent may feel comfortable with different things.”
Safety while walking
One of the more common risks associated with Halloween is families walking in neighborhoods at night. Walking at night runs into possibilities of having little to no lighting to see the path and can subject families to unexpected acts of violence.
Safekids.org strongly recommends never walking alone, especially on this holiday. It also suggests keeping electronics down to avoid being distracted while walking and to keep an eye on cars, especially if they are in reverse and backing up.
“Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30-9:30 p.m. Be especially alert for kids during those hours,” it advises.
It also recommends additional safety tips when it comes to dressing up your children for the holiday so that parents can easily identify where their child is if they get lost. Adding reflective tape to costumes and candy bags, opting for face paint over masks that cover the child’s entire face and having kids hold glowsticks and flashlights while trick-or-treating can allow parents to easily see their children in the dark.
This article originally appeared on The Gadsden Times: Halloween 2021: How all participating can keep the holiday safe