It’s fun to pick out costumes, decorate, host parties and go trick-or-treating. But, if you want your ghouls and goblins to have a happy, healthy and safe Halloween, Sacramento County has some helpful tips.
Costumes are part of the fun, but choose costumes without masks or ones that don’t interfere with vision. Accessories should be soft or flexible and outfit the costumes with reflective tape on the front, back and sides. You may also be tempted to dress up your pets. While some don’t mind, other pets get truly distressed and even bolt to try to get the costume off.
Before going out to trick-or-treat with your kids, give them a healthy snack or light meal and carry your own candy so the little ones aren’t tempted to eat the candy from their bag before you can inspect it. Don’t forget to have your pets wear a collar with I.D. and up-to-date license tags, and keep them safely indoors. Bring a flashlight with you and take safe routes, stick to the sidewalks, use the crosswalks and have children look both ways before crossing the street. Drivers should slow down in residential areas on Halloween and be extra alert to watch out for children unexpectedly crossing the street.
When inspecting the treats, look for tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers and throw away anything that looks suspicious. For the little ones, consider the size and texture of the treats and remove choking hazards, such as gum, nuts, hard candies or small toys. Around this holiday, remind your children’s teachers and supervising adults of their food allergies.
If you are home handing out treats, turn on your outside walkway lights, use battery flicker lights for carved pumpkins instead of lit candles. Keep your pets in a secured area inside, but away from strangers at the front door. Give out only factory-wrapped treats and consider handing out healthier treats like mini-boxes of raisins or crackers. You could also give out non-food items, like stickers, book markers, coloring books and Crayons. Also, be sure to store candy away from pets. Candy and chocolate are mainstays for Halloween but ingesting them can cause animals to become very ill.
Having a Halloween party? Have properly working chafing dishes to keep hot food at a safe temperature of 135°F or above and cold foods at 41°F or cooler to prevent bacterial growth. Be sure meats are cooked to appropriate temperatures (ground meat 160°; Roast/Steak 145-160°; Chicken 165°; Pork 145°) and fresh fruits and vegetables are washed well before serving them to your guests.