Trick-or-treating, bobbing for apples and costume parties are just a few things kids love about Halloween, but holiday fun can put them at risk, health experts warn.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers parents these tips to help keep Halloween safe and fun:
- Beware of sugar overload. Don’t trick-or-treat on an empty stomach. Make sure your children have a light meal or healthy snack before heading out.
- Keep an eye out for candy tampering. Always check kids’ candy before letting them eat it. Discard anything that looks discolored or odd, has pinholes or torn wrappers.
- Avoid allergy triggers. Teach kids with allergies to search for allergens on the ingredients list of any treats they receive. They should never eat home-baked goods.
- Remove choking hazards. Very young children should not be allowed to have treats that could cause choking, such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys.
- Guard against foodborne illnesses. If apples or raw fruit are on your party menu, wash them thoroughly under running water and scrub with a produce brush before serving. Remember that unpasteurized juice or cider as well as raw cookie dough or batter can contain harmful bacteria. Chill all perishable foods until serving time and don’t leave them out at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Put a new spin on bobbing for apples. It’s a Halloween party tradition, but it can expose kids to harmful bacteria. Consider alternatives such as cutting apples out of construction paper, writing fun activities on them and putting a paperclip on each one. Kids can “fish” for an apple with a magnet tied to a string.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more Halloween safety tips.