Halloween Health and Safety
Spooky, scary costumes and sweet, sweet candy are the calling cards of Halloween. I’m not here to ruin the fun, but provide some health tips in the face of mountains of candy and to point out some overlooked safety concerns. Halloween health and safety is easier than it sounds. Don’t get distracted. There are some scary urban legends that can move your attention from real safety issues.
Eating sweets and other less-than-healthy foods on special occasions aren’t too big of a deal if your family has a routine of healthy eating habits on the “regular occasions”. If your regular diet includes loads of candy and fried foods, a better start may be improving the family’s daily habits before worrying about Halloween. Even with healthy habits outside of Halloween, you may want to employ a few rules and tricks to help keep you and your family healthier and safer.
For Halloween health starters, talk with your kids about moderation. Children are smarter than we give them credit for and are capable of understanding concepts like self-control. This can be helpful when setting limits on the amount of candy they can have each day. Without it, you may come off as being too strict and lead them to sneak extra treats. Set the schedule and amount, that way they won’t be surprised when you tell them “no more.”
Eat before going out
A healthy snack or meal can provide kids with energy they need trick-or-treating and keep them satiated to discourage snacking on candy along the way. Fiber and protein are the way to go because it will also help keep a stable blood sugar, further deterring candy craze.
You can keep it festive with a hard-boiled egg “ghost,” clementine “pumpkins” with a celery stem, or many others. Click the pictures for Halloween health recipes!
When you do head out, take a smaller bag or container. A full bag keeps with the tradition of Halloween without going overboard. Be on the look out for alternative treats. Bubbles, stickers, glow sticks, and more can be fun treats that last even longer than a single chocolate.
Store the candy out of sight and out of mind. This discourages mindless snacking. Hand out a few each day, perhaps with lunch or dinner, but let your children pick their favorites.
After a few weeks, the Halloween buzz has usually worn off. This is a good time to get rid of excess candy. Whether that’s donating it or trading it in at some dentists’ offices, excess candy can be too much of a temptation. Don’t worry, Thanksgiving sweets are just a few weeks away.
Needles, razors, and drugs. Oh my!
The biggest concern around Halloween is dangers in the candy handed out, but these concerns are largely unfounded. In fact, no cases of strangers killing or permanently harming children with tainted candy have ever been found. The sad truth is these urban legends are based on a few rare cases where a family member is responsible and they use it as an attempt to cover their tracks.
Strangers handing out drugs that look like candy is another legend that has no evidence. Illegal drugs are expensive, and a stranger is highly unlikely to hand out thousands of dollars’ worth for free. A more common concern is edible marijuana treats in the home that kids mistake for candy. If you’re in a state where these are legal, please keep them secured from children. Marijuana, including edible treats, are still illegal federally and in the state of Kansas.
Now, you should still inspect your child’s candy for several different reasons. For starters, it gives you an excuse to either regulate the amount of candy your children consume during the holiday or, if you’re in mischievous mood, take some good pieces for yourself. You can also use this time to search for small non-edible toys or candy that might pose a choking hazard for small children. Just don’t let this be the only safety concern you focus on during Halloween.
Real safety concerns of Halloween
The biggest concern for Halloween is pedestrian accidents. Over 40 million children go trick-or-treating and this increase of pedestrians greatly increases the risk of accidents. This is the largest cause of injuries on Halloween. Consider visiting a local trunk-or-treat for the holiday instead of walking along the street. These typically occur in blocked off parking lots or streets and can include extra activities in addition to candy collection. You can also consider decorating your child’s costume with some reflective tape around the edges of sleeves, hoods, and collars to increase visibility.
Speaking of costumes, falls are another common injury. Ensure that your child’s costume is not to long to create a tripping hazard and that masks fit properly and are well ventilated. Loose masks can reduce the visual field and make it easy for your child to trip over objects or miss steps.
Carving pumpkins has an inherent danger due to handling knives, but many over look the fire dangers around candles we place inside them. Never leave burning candles unattended. Try using a battery powered LED light instead. Be careful when trick-or-treating to stay away from open flames, especially with flowy, flammable costumes.
From all of us at Null Chiropractic, have a safe and healthy Halloween!
Halloween healthy and safety is easier than it sounds. Remember to avoid distracting urban legends, focus on safe costumes, and limit the sweets.