[This was written pre-coronavirus a number of years ago, but masks are critical now, and some, such as Mayo, recommend skipping it in 2020 entirely. Just be safe.]
Candy and food safety is a big concern during the Halloween season. Whether it’s from door-to-door trick-or-treating or the goodies collected from a Halloween party, there are some ways to avoid potential problems. Most of all, use common sense. If something alerts you to avoid eating it or letting your child eat it, don’t ignore this. When in doubt, throw it out.
Candy Safety Tips for Halloween
It should be an understood rule by now, but in case it isn’t, know that your child should not eat a single piece of candy until it has been inspected by you. That means, if your little ghoul is begging for one piece from his collected loot, stop and use a flashlight to inspect the wrapper before handing it over. If you are concerned your child may be too tempted to resist, offer to carry his or her treat bag while going door-to-door.
To avoid temptation there are two other things to try. One is to make sure your child ate well before leaving, so he or she will have a full belly and may not be as likely to want to snack. Also, bring a few of your own candies from home and if your child simply must have a sugary snack, make sure it is one from your own stash from home.
Once home, look at each piece of candy. Any faded wrappers, or those with holes or tears, must be discarded. Goodies without wrappers are not an option. Even if the wrapper fell off at some point during the night while trick-or-treating, it means it could be dirty or that the wrapper was tampered with to begin with.
Also, make sure your child’s candy is not a choking hazard. Avoid gum or jawbreaker type selections that may become a problem. This is especially true for younger children. By the way, also make sure the family pets do not end up chewing down on any chocolates, raisins or macadamia nuts. Dogs and cats can have a severe, and often deadly, reaction to these types of foods.
Food Safety Tips for Halloween
Some people opt to give out fruit or baked goods during Halloween trick-or-treating, as opposed to candy. These options require just as much consideration before allowing your child to ingest them, though. As a rule, don’t even accept baked goods from someone you do not know. You can decline politely by saying they could become a mess in the bag, or that your child has been known to get ill from that particular type of baked good. If nothing else, set it aside from the rest of the loot to dispose of as soon as possible.
Check fruit for injection or puncture wounds or for the presence of foreign objects. Wash the item, feel and inspect the skin completely and slice it up for save serving. If you can’t be certain, discard the item. There are plenty more choices for your child to choose from, and one or two tossed items won’t put much of a dent in their collected stash.
Some Other Notes about Candy and Food Safety
Avoid offering or baking anything that could be an allergy risk to someone else’s child. Try to locate a recipe that is free from ingredients that could trigger allergic reaction.
Food safety also means limiting candy to prevent a child from getting a tummy ache or being sick. Also, if you are worried about the door-to-door trick-or-treating part of Halloween, make other arrangements. Opt for attending a party hosted by someone you know and trust, put together by a mall or throw your own monster bash for the holiday.
Also, as horrible as it sounds, keep the number for poison control handy just in case. Do not allow your child to ingest anything just before bed, so you can monitor them carefully after eating any treats. Again, this can help prevent a child from being sick in the middle of the night. Keep the candy stash out of a child’s reach so they don’t get tempted to devour a bag of goodies in the middle of the night. This also means keeping any food you have left from the stash you were giving out away from youngsters.
The idea is to be careful, safe and smart, but not paranoid. Do not scare your child, or stress yourself out, by going overboard with the candy collecting and eating process. On the other hand, trust your instincts. Candy and food safety at Halloween is meant to be a guideline system to making the holiday fun but safe for all.