This year, the Food and Drug Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issues their collective “LUCKY 13” guidelines for a safe Halloween:
- Wear costumes made of fire-retardant materials; look for “flame resistant” on the label. If you make your costume, use flame-resistant fabrics such as polyester or nylon.
- Wear bright, reflective costumes or add strips of reflective tape so you’ll be more visible; make sure the costumes aren’t so long that you’re in danger of tripping.
- Wear makeup and hats rather than masks that can obscure your vision.
- Test the makeup you plan to use by putting a small amount on the arm of the person who will be wearing it a couple of days in advance. If a rash, redness, swelling, or other signs of irritation develop where the makeup was applied, that’s a sign of a possible allergy.
- Check FDA’s list of color additives to see if makeup additives are FDA approved. If they aren’t approved for their intended use, don’t use it.
- Don’t wear decorative contact lenses unless you have seen an eye care professional and gotten a proper lens fitting and instructions for using the lenses.
- Don’t eat candy until it has been inspected at home.
- Trick-or-treaters should eat a snack before heading out, so they won’t be tempted to nibble on treats that haven’t been inspected.
- Tell children not to accept—or eat—anything that isn’t commercially wrapped.
- Parents of very young children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys.
- Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.
- Look for the warning label to avoid juice that hasn’t been pasteurized or otherwise processed, especially packaged juice products that may have been made on site. When in doubt, ask! Always ask if you are unsure if a juice product is pasteurized or not. Normally, the juice found in your grocer’s frozen food case, refrigerated section, or on the shelf in boxes, bottles, or cans is pasteurized.
- Before bobbing for apples—a favorite Halloween game—reduce the amount of bacteria that might be on apples by thoroughly rinsing them under cool running water. As an added precaution, use a produce brush to remove surface dirt.
If you or your child is injured this Halloween, then remember: the first thing (of course) in these sorts of tragic holiday incidents is to get needed medical attention and make sure everyone is safe and cared for; after that, it’s important to know that gathering information for any claim that may need to be filed is better done sooner rather than later. It’s easier to get the names and addresses of witnesses at the scene of an accident, for example, while they are still there to be found.
Protect any candy wrappings or other physical evidence by safeguarding it away from others. Take photos. Get descriptions of what happened from those that know, and gather other records (police reports, medical reports, etc.) as soon as you can. All these are relevant facts that may turn into needed evidence to support your claim against a wrongdoer in a pursuit for justice. And, let’s all hope that you never need to do this — Happy Halloween!