It’s nearly Halloween, which means costumes, candy, parties, pumpkins, and — again — candy. But just because you’re all jacked up on a sugar high — or by the mere thought of your eventual sugar high — doesn’t mean you and your family can’t be safe this Halloween.
The Food and Drug Administration — along with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — recently updated their Halloween safety tips, warning individuals to be wary of the dangers lurking on Halloween — and we don’t mean ghosts and goblins.
From flammable costumes to face paint allergies, the agencies issued guidelines intended to keep children and festive adults happy and healthy on Oct. 31.
1. Wear Bright, Flame-Resistant Costumes
We’ve already warned Halloween revelers that it’s not a great idea to wear an entirely black body suit while trick-or-treating, and the agencies reiterate that sentiment.
For instance, the guidelines suggest individuals wear bright, reflective costumes or add strips of reflective tape so they’ll be more visible.
Costumes should also be “flame resistant” or made with polyester or nylon.
2. Test Your Makeup
When it comes to decorating your face, the agencies urge individuals to test their makeup in advance to ensure they don’t suffer an allergic reaction.
For example, the agencies suggest putting a small amount of the makeup on the arm of the person who will be wearing it.
If a rash, redness, swelling, or other signs of irritation develop where the makeup was applied, that’s a sign of a possible allergy, and shouldn’t be used, the guidelines note.
Additionally, because much of the makeup used during Halloween include vibrant colors, users should check that FDA’s list of color additives to see if their products are FDA approved for use.
3. Avoid Decorative Contact Lenses
While colored contact lenses — think cat eyes — might seem like the perfect finishing touch to a costume, the FDA warned the decorative lenses could pose a health risk for users.
The FDA and several eye care professional groups, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, and others, are discouraging the use of decorative or colored contact lenses this year.
When bought and used without a valid prescription, without the involvement of a qualified eye care professional, or without appropriate follow-up care, the lenses can lead to significant risks of eye injuries, including blindness.
Additionally, if you have never worn contact lenses before, Halloween should not be the first time you wear them, the agencies warn.
Instead, if you plan to wear decorative lenses, you should first see an eye care professional for a proper fitting and instructions for safe use.
4. Safe Handling
As for the bags and buckets you use to collect candy, safety experts have previously warned that you should pick those containers carefully.
Two years ago, Consumerist saw a variety of ways in which parents were reusing their orange Tide Pods buckets as Halloween candy buckets.
Sure, the idea might seem to be a creative way to “epicycle” the Pods packaging, but there were concerns that the containers might send a confusing message to children. Namely, that the orange containers house candy year-round.
“We all like Halloween,” William Wallace, policy analyst with our colleagues at Consumers Union, told Consumerist in 2015. “But these containers are intended to keep detergent pods away from young kids. Using them for candy baskets could be confusing.”
While potentially confusing a child on what holds candy and what holds detergent is bad enough, the reuse of Tide containers also created other concerns: are people properly cleaning these containers — which only recently held dozens of poisonous detergent pods — before turning them into treats totes?
5. Check Your Candy
When it comes to all that candy you (or your children) will undoubtedly receive this year, the FDA, CPSC, and CDC provide a few steps that should be taken before you indulge.
For instance, adults should inspect children’s candy for any sign of tampering, read labels for allergy warning, and remove any choking hazards from Halloween bags before giving them to children.
For more Halloween safety tips, check out the FDA’s full list of guidelines.