Written by Katherine Golden, intern staff contributor
The start of the fall semester is, for students, one of the slowest parts of the year. The only break afforded to students is the Labor Day weekend, so Halloween is a holiday that is greatly anticipated. As a day of excitement, a day to pretend to be someone or something you’re not, and a day to get candy, one can see why it has such a high appeal for students. Adults get to return to being kids for a day as they go trick-or-treating with their own children, or attend Halloween-themed parties. While this is a holiday of fun and excitement, it’s important to remember that fall is also notoriously flu and cold season so the American Red Cross offers special safety tips for your night of celebration:
· If your child is already sick, keep them at home. While it’s disappointing for your child, keeping your sick children at home prevents others from contracting illnesses and stops the viruses from spreading.
· Remind kids to keep their hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth to keep germs away. Carry hand sanitizer with you or have it near your candy dispensing area for people trick-or-treating at your house!
· If you are giving out candy, hand it out or scoop it. Instead of a bowl of candy, consider handing out small, individually wrapped bags of treats.
· Constantly wash your hands, and make sure your children are constantly washing theirs as well!
· Throw away any unwrapped candy and inspect the rest for choking hazards and tampering.
· Use flame-resistant costumes.
· Plan your route and make sure adults know where children are going. A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children as they make their way around the neighborhood.
· Make sure the trick-or-treaters have a flashlight. Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags so drivers can see where people are. Have everyone wear light-colored clothing in order to be seen.
· Visit only the homes that have a porch light on. Accept treats at the door – never go inside.
· Instead of masks, which can cover your eyes and make it hard to see, use face makeup.
· Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the edge of the roadway, facing traffic. Look both ways before crossing the street, and cross only at the corner. Don’t cut across yards or use alleys. Don’t cross between parked cars.
· Be cautious around strange animals, especially dogs.
· If you are welcoming ghosts and goblins, make sure your outdoor lights are on.
· Sweep leaves from your sidewalks and steps.
· Clear your porch or front yard of any obstacles that a child could trip over.
· Restrain your pets.
· Use a glow stick instead of a candle in your jack-o-lantern to avoid a fire hazard.
If you feel confident in your abilities to celebrate Halloween safely, test yourself by clicking here and taking our fun Halloween Safety Quiz! Also, visit RedCross.org for more information on how to have a safe and happy Halloween!