Halloween is Monday, Oct. 31. Trick-or-treating is allowed in Concord between 5 and 7:30 p.m.
But before you overindulge on chocolately goodness this weekend, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health Services has a few pointers for you and children to help make Halloween and Trick or Treat healthy and safe:
- 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. To help prevent children from munching, give them 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 will say so on the label.
Additionally, DHHS offers the following safety tips for Halloween:
- 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 flashlights.
- Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling.
- Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. High heels are not a good idea 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 skin.
- 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 irritateyour skin if you use too much.
- 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.
Also, here are some pointers from the National Fire Protection Association:
- When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric. If you are making your own costume, choose material that won't easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out.
- Provide children with flashlights to carry or glow sticks as part of their costume.
- Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
- It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candles in a Jack-o-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside Jack-o-lanterns, use long fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
- Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
- Tell children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Have them practice stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.)
- Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.
- If your children are going to Halloween parties at others’ homes, have them look for ways out of the home and plan how they would get out in an emergency.