Keep Halloween scares fun with safety-minded costumes

A D.C.-area pediatrician has tips for parents to help kids’ costumes — from face paint to glow stick jewelry and properly fitting capes and masks — stay Halloween-safe.

“If you are going to be using makeup, or hair dye, I would do a patch test,” said Dr. Adrienne Collier, the chief of pediatrics for D.C. and suburban Maryland for the Permanente Medical Group.

“Maybe on Thursday or Friday or Saturday, just testing a small amount of makeup on the face or a small amount of hair dye in the back of the head to ensure that there’s no allergic reaction,” Collier said. “You don’t want to go out on Sunday with a face full of new makeup for your Halloween costume, and then 10 minutes later your face is swollen and red and you have hives.”

Collier, who has a practice in Largo, Maryland, offered more tips to avoid trips:

  • Size capes and costumes properly so they won’t drag the ground, where your kid could trip or someone else could step on them.
  • Make sure decorative masks don’t obstruct vision.
  • Anything near noses and mouths should allow for easy breathing.

It’s also important to remember that your children need to see and be seen:

  • Consider outfitting kids in glow stick jewelry and/or reflective items.
  • Carry a flashlight or lantern.
  • Older kids might use cellphone flashlights.
  • Remind kids to look both ways before crossing streets.
  • Always cross the street with a buddy or an adult.
  • Don’t trick-or-treat in high-traffic areas.

As for COVID-19 and general safety-related considerations, Collier said, “Even though we’re socially distancing, it’s not safe to trick or treat alone. So you want to trick or treat in a small group, preferably 10 people or less.”

“When you do approach someone’s home, if they are answering the door, please make sure that you’re wearing a mask or facial covering so that we can continue to prevent the spread of COVID,” she said. “Many families now are putting out baskets of candy or buckets on their steps so that you can avoid interacting with strangers.”

It’s also important to set expectations for when it’s time to call it quits.

“Are we trick-or-treating for 30 minutes? Are we trick-or-treating until it gets dark? Are we trick-or-treating for an hour? Are we trick-or-treating on four blocks or three blocks? So then that way they know what to expect,” Collier said.

“So when you say to them: ‘It’s time to go home; we’re done,’ there won’t be any meltdown. Or, at least, you can try and avoid major meltdown.”

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

This content was republished with permission from CNN.

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