Have a fun — and safe — Halloween


October marks the return of the “spooky season.” But before you get all dressed up and head out to celebrate Halloween, it’s important to remember that safety must come first.
A study conducted by State Farm found that one of every four pedestrian deaths on Halloween are children out walking between 6 and 7 p.m. And a vast majority of those deaths occur away from a crosswalk or intersection.
Halloween is supposed to be a time for fun, costumes and candy — not rides in ambulances. There are lots of cars on the roads, even when kids are trick-or-treating. And on this night it’s more important than ever to use crosswalks, look both ways, and stay on the sidewalks. Especially with the uptick in reckless driving the Herald has reported on in recent weeks in different neighborhoods.
Also, wear bright, reflective colors, or add strips of reflective tape to costumes to make them more visible to passing vehicles.
But that’s not all. The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns parents to buy only flame-resistant costumes — generally made of fabrics like polyester or nylon — and to ensure that costumes aren’t too long or too wide, which could cause our young ones to trip.
Children should travel in groups accompanied by parents or responsible adults, and only knock on doors of well-lit homes that have porch lights on.
Instead of masks that can obscure your vision, use makeup and hats instead. Just be sure makeup is Food and Drug Administration-approved, especially anything applied on the face or around the eyes. And avoid decorative contact lenses that change eye color.
All of these are warnings many of us have heard every year. But what about all that delicious Halloween candy? We all grew up hearing horror stories about razor blades in apples, and evil people poisoning the miniature candy bars they hand out.
But dangers today may not even be intentional. Last year, for example, authorities at Los Angeles International Airport confiscated nearly 12,000 fentanyl pills hidden inside wrapped bags and boxes of candy. While it’s highly unlikely that children were the targets of the smugglers, police, as always, advised parents to inspect the candy their trick-or-treaters brought home. That’s more important these days than ever, and if you find anything suspicious, do not touch it, and notify law enforcement right away.
Another new threat is THC edibles and candies that may look like something intended for children, but are anything but. They come in shapes similar to Sour Patch Kids, gummy worms and chocolate bars, but they contain psychoactive substances. The worst part? Some people may not even realize they’ve bought them, and could give them out to kids without even realizing what’s inside.
While the effects of THC ingestion in children vary, some telltale symptoms may include sedation, shortness of breath, anxiety, and quivering. If you believe a child has accidentally consumed THC edibles, call the National Capital Poison Center, at (800) 222-1222.
Of course, The FDA advises not accepting or eating anything that is not commercially wrapped. Inspect wrappers for any signs of tampering, including an unusual appearance, discoloration, pinholes, or tears in the wrappers. And if anything in your child’s trick-or-treat bag looks suspicious, throw it away.
There are so many things all of us can be for Halloween this year. But the last thing any of us wants to be is a statistic. So plan ahead, stay safe and alert, and fun will surely follow.