Keep Halloween safe, not scary

Trick-or-treating? Going to, or hosting a Halloween party? Read these quick safety tips before you make your scare!

There is so much merchandise in the stores these days for Halloween that one would think it has become an official national holiday! Even though Halloween isn’t an official holiday, children and adults alike have a lot of fun with the many rituals of trick-or-treating, dressing up, playing games and hosting or going to parties. It is important to make sure all of the festive events are safe, for the young and old.

Taking the children trick-or-treating? Make sure treats are safe for children by following these simple steps:

  • Snacking: Avoid snacking while trick-or-treating. Enjoy a light meal or snack before heading out – don’t go out on an empty stomach, you will be tempted to dip into the goodies you are collecting. You should always inspect all treats prior to consuming.
  • Safe treats: Remind your children to not accept – and especially not to eat – anything that is not commercially wrapped. Long ago many folks made their own treats, but it is now recommended that we stick with commercially prepared treats. This helps to prevent tampering of food. When inspecting the treats, look for any unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes or tears in wrappers. Follow the rule, “When in doubt, throw it out.”
  • Choking hazards: Be extra cautious with very young children, making sure to remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys.

Having a party? Here are some tips to keep everyone safe from FightBAC!:

  • Bobbing for apples: This is an all-time favorite fall activity. Here are a couple of ways to say “boo” to bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.
  • Reduce the number of bacteria that may be present on apples by rinsing them under cool running water.
  • Try a different way to bob for apples. Cut out apples from red construction paper. On each apple, write activities for kids, such as “do five jumping jacks.” Place a paper clip on each apple and put them in a large basket; tie a magnet to a string and let children takes turns “bobbing” with their magnet and doing the activity written on the apple. Give children a fresh apple or apple slices for participating.
  • Safe cider: Cider is a popular beverage this time of the year. Make sure the cider you purchase is pasteurized. Unpasteurized juice or cider can contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella. Refer to the Michigan State University Extension article, Pasteurized or unpasteurized – what’s the difference?
  • Perishable foods. “Scare” bacteria away by keeping all perishable foods chilled until serving. Anything with cheese, cut fruit, salads, cold pasta dishes, meat, poultry, cream pies or cakes with whipped-cream and cream-cheese frostings are considered perishable. Bacteria will creep up quickly if left out at room temperature. Follow the rule of thumb: Leave out for two hours, then refrigerate (one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit).

To learn more about Halloween safety, check out FDA’s Lucky 13: Tips for a Safe Halloween. Creating fun family memories can be exciting and memorable. MSU Extension reminds you to make these adventures safe for yourself and your family by following these simple reminders.

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