NH DHHS Offers Halloween Tips to Keep Children Healthy and Safe

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) today offered tips for

parents to enjoy Halloween festivities while helping to keep children

healthy and safe. Many communities will be celebrating over the next few

days. Some communities hold trick-or-treating during the daylight hours,

while others do so during the evening. Fatality records from across the

country from the past 21 years show that Halloween is the deadliest day of

the year for child pedestrian accidents, so it is very important to talk to

children and parents about how to stay safe.

“Trick-or-treating is a time-honored tradition for Halloween but we

wouldn’t want anyone’s fun to be spoiled,” said Dr. José Montero, DHHS

Public Health Director. “Parents should take a few extra minutes to make

sure their little ones will be safe this holiday.”

In order to protect children’s health, DHHS offers the following health

tips to parents regarding treats:

Children shouldn’t snack while they’re out trick-or-treating. They

should wait until they get home and parents have had a chance to

inspect the goodies. Give children a snack or light meal before they

go–don't send them out on an empty stomach.

Tell children not to accept, and especially not to eat, anything that

isn’t commercially wrapped.

When children bring their treats home, discard any home-made candy or

baked goods. Parents of young children should also remove any choking

hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys.

Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as

an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in

wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.

If juice or cider is served to children at Halloween parties, make

sure it is pasteurized or otherwise treated to destroy harmful

bacteria. Juice or cider that has not been treated or pasteurized

will say so on the label.

Additionally, DHHS offers the following safety tips for Halloween:

Children should see and be seen in their costumes. Halloween is the

deadliest day of the year for child pedestrian accidents. The

twilight hours between 6:00-7:00 PM are particularly dangerous.

Purchase or make costumes that are lightly colored and bright enough

to be clearly visible to motorists.

For greater visibility during dusk and darkness, decorate or trim

costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car’s

headlights. Bags or sacks should also be light colored or decorated

with reflective tape. Reflective tape is usually available in

hardware, bicycle, and sporting goods stores.

To easily see and be seen, parents or children should also carry


Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and


Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. High heels are not

good for safe walking.

Hats and scarves should be tied securely to prevent them from

slipping over children’s eyes.

Apply a natural mask of cosmetics rather than have a child wear a

loose-fitting mask that might restrict breathing or obscure vision.

If a mask is used, however, make sure it fits securely and has

eyeholes large enough to allow full vision.

When purchasing a costume, masks, beards, and wigs, look for the

words “flame resistant” on the label. Although this label does not

mean these items won't catch fire, it does indicate that they will

resist burning and should extinguish quickly once removed from the

ignition source. To minimize the risk of contact with candles or

other sources of ignition, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials

and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts.

Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be of soft and

flexible material.

When using makeup, follow all directions carefully.

Don’t decorate your face with things that aren’t intended for your


Like soap, some things are OK on your skin, but not in your eyes.

Some face paint or other makeup may say on the label that it is not

for use near the eyes. Believe this, even if the label has a picture

of people wearing it near their eyes. Be careful to avoid getting

makeup in your eyes.

Even products intended for use near your eyes can sometimes irritate

your skin if you use too much.

Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a

prescription from an eye care professional. Obtaining decorative

contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal.

These can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and

infections, which may lead to permanent problems.

If you’re decorating your skin with something you’ve never used

before, you might try a dab of it on your arm for a couple of days to

check for an allergic reaction BEFORE you put it on your face. This

is an especially smart thing to do if you tend to have allergies.

Teach children how to call 9-1-1 if they have an emergency or become


For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

website at http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/.