Its not just spooks and goblins trick or treaters will need to watch out for this Halloween. At the top of the precaution list is the H1N1 Swine Flu, which is particularly dangerous to children and young adults. The epidemic should prompt a greater degree of vigilance for those going door to door as well as attendees at the many Halloween parties that will take place over the holiday weekend.
Halloween Precautions against the Swine Flu
Before children leave the house to trick or treat, all store-bought costumes and masks should be properly sanitized. Children going door to door in groups should not open any received candy and should avoid eating non-wrapped items like apples or cookies. Accompanying parents should carry sanitary wipes or pocket-size bottles of hand sanitizers. As soon as children return home, they should wash their hands thoroughly.
People attending parties should take extra precautions beyond the normal ones. Drinking from other people’s cups or bottles should be avoided and games that include touching should not be played. Hosts should make available large bottles of hand sanitizer in every room of the house.
Other Halloween Hazards to Avoid
Safety should be the primary concern for anyone escorting children on Halloween night. This includes:
- Never allowing children to trick or treat by themselves
- Organizing groups of friends and family to trick or treat together
- Avoiding neighborhoods that are deemed high crime areas
- Separating all treats once back at home by those that are factory wrapped and those that are loose.
- Discarding any items not properly packaged regardless of how yummy they look
- Reporting any suspicious activity immediately to law enforcement
Alternatives to Door to Door Treating
Many local malls, both indoor and strip-malls, host programs in which tenant merchants give out treats on Halloween. Local newspapers frequently list these events or parents can call the local malls to obtain information and hours of operation. These events are generally safe and controlled, although all the other rules of caution should apply.
Maximizing the Element of Safety
Celebrating Halloween can be a fun experience despite the heightened precautions. Children should be told why the precautions are necessary. This includes being vigilant regarding tainted treats, traveling in groups escorted by parents, and using plenty of hand sanitizer to avoid the risk of flu infection.
At the same time, people opening their doors to little superheroes, witches, and clowns should be sensitive to Halloween precautions and refrain from giving treats that could be deemed as suspicious or carrying bacteria that could lead to illness.