Halloween is a time of costumes, merriment and good fright. According to Judy Harrison, a Cooperative Extension foods specialist, Halloween also presents three major hazards: food allergens, choking hazards and product tampering.
“For a child with food allergies, Halloween can be life-threatening,” she said. “Parents need to be sure to examine the labels of candy before the child eats the treats.”
Choking, in particular for young children, is another danger. Hard candy is the obvious choking hazard, but Harrison warns that parents need to be wary of gum, peanuts, popcorn and small toys, too. Parents should remove items that can be choking hazards from their children’s Halloween bags.
Product tampering looms in parents’ minds on Halloween. They need to be on the lookout for anything that looks suspicious, and check that the packaging is not open, torn or tampered with in any way.
Along with food safety, nutrition is a major concern for parents on Halloween due to the large consumption of sugar-filled delights. Connie Crawley, a Cooperative Extension nutrition and health specialist, suggests homemade pumpkin muffins, apples, vegetables with low-calorie dips and sandwiches cut into shapes of pumpkins or bats as nutritious alternatives.