While Halloween got medically spooky in 2020 because of COVID-19, this year’s celebration might see an increase in little ghouls and goblins knocking at your door for tricks instead of treats.

Health officials have said outdoor Halloween parties and celebrations, in general, can resume this year, especially for those who are vaccinated. And remember kids age 12 and older can already get the vaccine.

Smart candy giveaways

When it comes to giving out and getting candy, there are some safety precautions you can take to limit unwanted contact or having multiple people putting their hands in the candy jar. One simple way to do that is to pre-pack small bags that limit touching.

There are also ways to create social distancing. You can spread out bags of candy on an outdoor table or on the bed of a pickup truck, providing an environment where kids don’t have to get in a crowd. That might be a better approach than having a multitude of goblins at your front door.

Beware of food allergies

Halloween can be a nightmare for children with food allergies. Common trigger foods such as nuts, eggs and milk are present in many different types of candies, posing a difficult dilemma for parents and kids.

Young children might know what they are allergic to, but might not be able to read labels. In that case, a parent or guardian should go with their child during trick-or-treat. Always read candy labels, and if you are in doubt, don’t let your child consume candy that you cannot clearly identify.

If you like giving out goodies, hand out things other than candy that kids might want, such as glow sticks, pencils, stamps, or stickers.

Mask up, wash hands

It is still advised that children mask up, and that doesn’t mean looking like Spider Man or Elsa will do the trick. Halloween masks do not offer proper protection against COVID-19, but cloth masks can often be worn comfortably beneath the more comical disguise.

As always, hand-washing remains important. If your kids bring home a tasty haul, make sure they wash their hands carefully with soap and water before digging in.

Parties are OK as long as they are held outside and people can successfully practice social distancing. Aside from crowding issues, indoor parties also pose another conundrum. If food and drinks are on the menu, it means many people won’t be keeping their protective masks on.

Falls happen too often

Falls remain one of the most common cause of Halloween-related injuries as kids run around the neighborhood. Fortunately, most falls can be prevented when putting together costumes.

Costumes should not present a tripping hazard. Footwear should be sturdy with non-slip soles to reduce the risk of falling. Also, it might be best to reconsider letting your little princess wear mom’s high heels to complete her costume.

Sometimes the cause for the fall is related to poor vision. Masks, hats, capes, wigs and hoods that cover the eyes can obscure vision, making even a simple curb or step a hazard.

You can help keep your child safe by considering using make-up instead of a mask to disguise your pirate. If you do opt for the mask, make sure it fits snugly against the face, and check your child’s peripheral vision.

Likewise, ensure that other costume accessories are away from a child’s face. Also, it’s important that your child be aware of her environment for steps, potholes, curbs and lawn decorations.

Glow in the dark

Another way to ensure your safety is to make sure all members of the door-to-door candy brigade are visible to others. Reflective tape, available at many stores, will greatly enhance visibility if attached to clothing.

A working flashlight also is an important addition to your costume. It can draw attention to your trick-or-treaters and be used to help navigate along the way. Battery-powered lanterns and glow sticks also are good options.

Supervision is key

One of the best preventive measures you can take is to make sure that all children are supervised by an adult. Other ways to remove the fear of an unsafe holiday is to keep to the sidewalks.

Keeping on publicly maintained hard surface rather than crossing yards when going door-to-door will help you avoid the unexpected water hose, lawn ornament or low-hanging limb. Likewise, if you are expecting trick-or-treaters to knock on your door, please make an effort to remove or illuminate hazards in your own yard.

Tifani Kinard is Administrator in Charge and Chief Nursing Officer at Polk Medical Center, a part of Floyd Healthcare Management.

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