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For kids and parents alike, Halloween is a favorite time of year. Whether you enjoy going trick-or-treating with the kids, giving out treats, or hosting your own party, here are some tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for both your trick-or-treaters and party guests.
- Make sure kids eat a healthy dinner before going out. This will reduce the chances that they will try to sneak any treats before you've had a chance to check them.
- Remind kids that treats need to be brought home and inspected before they can be eaten.
- Don't let kids accept homemade or other unwrapped treats unless you trust the source.
- If you are unsure about the safety of a treat, throw it out.
- If you are giving out treats, consider handing out healthier treats such as individual-size packs of raisins or pretzels.
- Make sure your porch light is on and the steps coming up to your home are free of obstacles that could cause someone to trip and fall.
- Use battery-powered candles instead of regular candles in unattended areas or in places where they could be knocked over or be brushed by a costume.
- When choosing kids' costumes, look for those made from flame-retardant materials.
- Select costumes made from bright, reflective colors, or add reflective patches or tape to make them easier to see after dark.
- Make sure kids' costumes are loose enough to wear warm clothing underneath, but not so long that it could cause tripping.
- Use kid-friendly makeup instead of a mask if your child will be trick-or-treating, as masks can obstruct vision.
Hosting Your Own Party
If you are planning host a Halloween party, here are a few tips to help keep your ghoulish dishes safe:
- Cook all hot dishes to a proper temperature before serving (use a thermometer to confirm!).
- Hot dishes can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator until party time. When your guests arrive, simply reheat the food to an internal temperature of 165°F and serve.
- Once served, keep hot foods at 140°F or warmer by using chafing dishes, slow cookers or warming trays.
- Store cold dishes in the refrigerator until your guests arrive. When serving, keep these dishes cold (less than 40°F) by nesting in a bed of ice.
- Don't let any hot or cold foods sit out at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Serve food on small platters and replace empty platters rather than adding fresh food to a dish that already had food in it.
No matter how you like to celebrate, make safety part of your holiday fun this Halloween.
For further information about creating a safer home, download NSF's safer home fact kit or send questions to the NSF consumer office at firstname.lastname@example.org.