I love Halloween. I love pumpkin carving. I love decorating the lawn. I love seeing all the kids dressed up. But most of all, I LOVE eating Halloween candy. I actually consider myself lucky when it comes to this time of year. My husband cannot eat products with dairy in them (aka chocolate) and my son generally ignores his Halloween loot by the 2nd day. That leaves lots of yummy treats for me!
I do not, however, like the post-Halloween cold or flu that inevitably creeps up on us so how am I going to help my family and pets stay healthy?
- Keep our hands clean! Thankfully I think we’ve talked our son into a costume choice where he’ll be wearing gloves. Depending on the weather, we can have upwards of 100 kids come by our house. Doorknobs and doorbells go from high-touch to super-touch surfaces on Halloween. Wearing gloves can help keep a few germs off our hands and if we need to eat a few treats along the way, I’ll be sure to pack some hand sanitizer.
- Keep the treat bowl as private property! Don’t let trick or treaters pick their treats. Hand the treats out yourself. It will help minimize gluttony often seen by the older boys with larger hands while making sure the little ghouls and goblins don’t leave their germs behind when they leave! But…don’t fall to into the pit of eating a treat every time you hand one out. We’re adults – we know that too much candy will cause a tummy ache!
- Decline the homemade Apple Cider (even if it’s “adult” cider…)! Who doesn’t like apple cider, especially warm apple cider? If the weather forecast holds true (while the rain and snow look to be holding off), the weather is going to be a titch chilly. A mug of warm cider to sip while you walk between houses may be just the ticket! But if it hasn’t been pasteurized you run the risk of ingesting Cryptosporidium, Salmonella, E. coli or Listeria monocytogenes. Unless you’re looking to rapidly loose the weight you gain from eating the candy I would recommend staying away from the offer of homemade apple cider.
- Keep your chocolate from going to the dogs! I have a cat. He’s black and his name is Shadow so we don’t need to dress him up for Halloween, but many people do dress up their dogs while they walk from house to house trick or treating. Remember that chocolate can be deadly to dogs and cats. If you didn’t know, the darker the chocolate the deadlier it is! When your kids come home and dump their loot bag to see what they got be sure to keep your pets safely away!
- Beware of the Halloween Mask! Let’s be honest, you never know who and how many kids or adults may have tried on the mask you bought for your costume… I bet that’s something you’ve never thought of! Gross isn’t it? To me it’s right up there with watching flight attendants do the safety introduction and putting the oxygen mask on….gag! While perhaps a small risk, it’s really not that hard to play it safe by cleaning and disinfecting the mask before it’s worn. It is fall after all when cold and flu viruses begin to run rampant!
I’m sad to say that I will actually be travelling at a conference this Halloween so I’ll miss the festivities, but I hope you’ll keep these 5 tips in mind and keep healthy on Halloween!