Tips to Make Your Halloween Safe!

Take your kids to fun and safe trick-or-treating event in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Pumpkin carving safety

Only Adults Should Carve Pumpkins

  • Never let children carve pumpkins. Kids can help by drawing a pattern on the pumpkin and removing the pulp and seeds once the pumpkin is cut.
  • A sharp knife can become wedged in the thicker part of the pumpkin, requiring force to remove it, causing hand injury when the knife finally dislodges from the thick skin of the pumpkin. Injuries are also sustained when the knife slips and comes out the other side of the pumpkin where your hand may be holding it steady.

Use a Pumpkin Carving Kit

  • Special kits are available in stores and include small, serrated pumpkin saws that work better because they are less likely to get stuck in the thick pumpkin tissue.
  • When cutting, adults should cut away from themselves in small, controlled strokes.

Help for An Injury

  • If you cut your finger or hand, apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. If pressure does not slow or stop the bleeding within15 minutes, be evaluated in the Emergency Room

Halloween Safety Tips

Costume Safety

  • Be sure your kids are wearing flame-resistant costumes.
  • Never walk near lit candles or luminaries.
  • Keep candle-lit Jack O’Lanterns and luminaries away from steps, walkways, sidewalks, landings, and curtains.
  • Place Jack O’ Lanterns on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
  • For greater visibility attach to costumes reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car’s headlights. Halloween bags should also be light colored or decorated with reflective tape. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware and sporting goods stores.
  • Children should carry flashlights while trick or treating to see where they are walking and so that cars can see them as they walk
  • Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling.
  • Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes to prevent trips.
  • Apply a natural mask of cosmetics (avoiding the eye area) rather than a loose-fitting mask that might restrict breathing or obscure vision. If wearing a mask make sure keyholes are large enough to allow good vision
  • If wearing a mask, use a well-fitting masks to avoid blocked vision
  • Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be soft and flexible to avoid injury.
  • Test makeup on a small patch of skin before applying to face or body.
  • Don’t decorate your face with things that are not intended for skin
  • Do not use face paint near the eyes, even if the label has a picture of people wearing it near the eyes.

Diagram showing ways to prevent accidents on halloween costumesPhoto:Consumerist|CC

Trick or Treating Safety

  • Young children should always be accompanied by an adult or an older, responsible child.
  • All children should walk, not run from house to house and use the sidewalk if available, rather than walk in the street.
  • Children should be cautioned against running out from between parked cars, or across lawns and yards where ornaments, furniture, or clotheslines present dangers.
  • Glow sticks contain a liquid that produces a temporary burning sensation and bad taste in the mouth when tasted. Small amounts that are swallowed are generally not harmful.

Choosing Safe Houses:

  • Children should go only to homes where the residents are known and have outside lights on as a sign of welcome.
  • Children should not enter homes or apartments unless they are accompanied by an adult.


Halloween Candy Safety

  • Before kids go trick-or-treating, serve a healthy meal so they’re not hungry when they collect candy.
  • To prevent temptation, know how much candy your child has collected and don’t store it in his or her bedroom.
  • Consider being somewhat lenient about candy eating on Halloween, within reason, and talk about how the rest of the candy will be handled. Candy and snacks shouldn’t get in the way of kids eating healthy meals.
  • If a child is overweight — or you’d just like to reduce the Halloween stash — consider buying back some or all of the remaining Halloween candy. This method acknowledges the candy belongs to the child and provides a treat in the form of a little spending money.
  • Be a role model by eating Halloween candy in moderation yourself. To help avoid temptation, buy your candy at the last minute and get rid of any leftovers.
  • Encourage your kids to be mindful of the amount of candy and snacks eaten — and to stop before they feel full or sick.

Alternatives to Candy

You also can offer some alternatives to candy to the trick-or-treaters who come to your door. Here are some treats you might give out:

  • Non-food treats, like stickers, toys, temporary tattoos, false teeth, little bottles of bubbles and small games, like tiny decks of cards (party-supply stores can be great sources for these)
  • Snacks such as small bags of pretzels, sugar-free gum (for older kids), trail mix, small boxes of raisins, and popcorn
  • Sugar-free candy
  • Small boxes of cereal
  • Avoid toys that could pose choking hazards to very young children.

Children Trick-or-treating

Children Trick-or-treating — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Candy Safety

  • Parents should instruct their children not to open their candy until they return home.
  • Inspect all candy for tampering before allowing them to start eating.
  • Accept only wrapped and packaged candy.
  • Do not eat candy that has been unwrapped or opened.
  • Never eat fruit or other unwrapped items.
  • Prevent a stomach ache by limiting 2- 3 small pieces of candy at a time.
  • Throw away any candy or food that is not wrapped tightly by the candy company.
  • Accept and give out candy that isn’t easily unwrapped. Candies such as Tootsie Rolls, hard candies and certain bubble gums with twist-type wrappings can be tampered with more easily than those that are sealed.
  • When in doubt, throw it out
  • Keep small hard candies, gum, peanuts, from children under the age of five because it is a choking hazard.
  • Keep chocolate candy, raisins, and macadamia nuts away from dogs. It is toxic to them, even in small amounts.



American Society for the Surgery of the Hand

CDC. gov

American Academy of Pediatrics


Red Cross

Halloween Safety - AAA

Last Updated by Dr. Vee on October 14, 2015

The Search for Google: A Commentary on Social Media in our Lives

The Search For Google (Mt. Rushmore Road Show)

Ever notice how pervasive the internet is in our daily lives? And how one can lose track of time for hours with a single web search? A recent example: Halloween Trick or Treating. An age old American childhood tradition. It started out innocently enough.  I simply asked my son, “What do you think about dressing up as Abraham Lincoln for Halloween?” He is studying American history in Social Studies class so I thought this would be a respectable Halloween character, avoiding commercialized blockbuster movie or pop culture idols. I thought I would dress up as George Washington, his friends could dress up as Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt and we could have a Mount Rushmore Road Show. This did not go over big with my son.  He looked at me, rolled his eyes and said nothing. I was worried he might be on Facebook “blocking” me or placing an ad on Craig’s List, “For Sale, One Lame Mom. Rants against energy drinks.  Eats brown rice. Still uses whole sentences to text. Takes notes at Parent-Teacher conferences. No, It’s NOT OK to contact me with other services, products or commercial interests.” I checked Angie’s List and became concerned when I was not listed as a preferred vender (mother).

Later that day my son used the most common type of adolescent communication: he texted, “Mom Please don’t embarrass me in public.” (At least he said please.) I texted back “How about dressing up like Facebook?” “OMG LOL!” was his immediate reply.

I thought that maybe his mind, like the American advertising community, had already moved past Halloween onto the more important Christmas shopping season, which starts directly after Back to School shopping season (I am still trying to figure what to do with those ten protractors for $20* I bought in the Back to School Specials frenzy). But no, he then emailed, “I think I’d like to dress up as a Google toolbar.” And so started the search for Google. 

Of course, being internet savvy, he went directly to Wikipedia. When I moved to the United States from India at age five, one of my most prized possessions was a complete set of the Encyclopedia Britannica. It took my parents a long time to save up enough money to buy me a set. In fact, I have kept it until this day to peruse on those late nights when I don’t get 300 emails, 30 email newsletters from mailchimp or a notice urging me, “Read about Dr. Extraordinarily Smarter and More Accomplished than You and On the Verge of Winning a Nobel Prize’s updates on LinkedIn!” 

Today, it’s easier to search the internet than the Encyclopedia Britannica. So naturally we went to YouTube (My son on an I Pad, me on my IPhone) and searched, “How to dress up like Google toolbar. The search returned “Bert & Ernie try Gangsta-Rap.” We moved on to eBay. We put in a couple of bids for Einstein wigs after examining the complete 360 degree view of the hair.  Next we put up for sale 10 protractors, shipping included anywhere in the continental United States.

We even did an advanced search on Amazon (who was kind enough to offer me some suggestions of similar items that I might be interested in buying). I saved a couple of protractors (on sale for a mere 10 for $5 with $10 shipping!) on my Wish List and emailed the list to my relatives for Christmas present suggestions.  All courtesy of those helpful folks at Amazon.

We did a general search on “Healthy Halloween ideas” and were encouraged by advertisers to “Come on over to the dark side with dark chocolate mini candy bars.” The manufacturer told us that there was 1 gram of fiber per 5 mini chocolate bars. That means we only have to eat 150 mini candy bars to get the recommended daily intake of fiber.  After reading the label, my son thought the candy bars were practically a health food and plans on substituting them for broccoli! I find it annoying that manufacturers have jumped on the dark chocolate bandwagon (Fortunately they are interested in our health, not in their sales), trying to convince consumers that candy (of course when consumed “in moderation”) can be part of a sensible diet!

The manufacturer of this candy bar was even kind enough to provide a fascinating article on theobromine, “a compound closely related to caffeine that only has a mild stimulatory effect on the central nervous system.”  They told us, “Preliminary research indicates that even relatively high levels of theobromine does not interfere with attention or mood.”  For our further education, we find out that dogs metabolize theobromine very slowly and it “carries the same risk to dogs as coffee, tea, cola beverages and certain houseplants.”  I bet that piece of useful information was never included in the Encyclopedia Britannica! 

Of course I had to post that article on my Facebook wall so that everyone interested could “Like” theobromine! And I certainly could not leave Facebook (Keep me logged on, Check) without contacting the 5 friends with birthdays this month, see status updates on 22 friends, no lie, play a couple of games of word scramble,  learn how to make gazpacho from Bobby Flay (He might be traveling to my hometown for a Throwdown and I better be prepared!),  print out a couple of coupons for more protractors, start a new game of solitaire (advanced hand), say “maybe” to the 18 events I was invited to by people I’m not sure I know,  “Like” the 400th “Baby’s first steps” pictures of someone I don’t recognize (Baby’s Mom, who I don’t actually know, asked to “Friend” me on Facebook and I agreed, since one has to exceed 7 friends on Facebook in order to well, Save Face) and whew, I am exhausted!

I told my son we HAD to get off the internet because we had exceeded the two hour daily limit of screen time recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. But not before we found websites to buy skull and crossbones ice cube trays, sour flush toilet candy, toxic waste candy, tongue tattoos, zombie blood energy drink, and a ketchup packet baby costume.

I thought idly about “quickly” checking behind the scenes photographs of Lindsay Lohan’s  first day of community service as a morgue janitor (CNN Entertainment informed me that “Thursday was suppose to be Lohan’s first day of work as a morgue janitor, but she was sent away after showing up late for the morning’s orientation. Her publicist blamed her tardiness on a combination of not knowing what entrance to go through and confusion caused by the media waiting for her arrival.”) As an act of good citizenship, I recommended this on Facebook (along with 586 other people!) as well as shared it on Twitter. 

Next I had to check what those down to Earth Housewives of Beverly Hills are up to on their behind the scenes blog (shopping, shopping, nails, hair, shopping, Spa, shopping, restaurants, shopping).  Learn about the newest medical breakthroughs on “The Doctors” (Who needs Mayo Clinic Proceedings?), Check. Let’s see what Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, Deepak Chopra, KevinMD and Dr. Oz are tweeting about (dark chocolate) and we’ll call it a night.

Fortunately, I am pleased to report that my son did not dress up like Tron, Harry Potter (Ok, I admit that’s who he was last year), Charlie Sheen, any vampire from Twilight, Jack Sparrow (SO last year) or an IPad 2. (Why dress up as an IPad 2 when one only has to enter 5 or 6 thousand internet advertising contests in order to have a “chance” to win one?)  He also nixed the Mt. Rushmore Road Show mother-son bonding idea (South Dakota or bust!) as well as, ultimately, the Google toolbar costume (If it’s not found on YouTube it can’t be worth making). I tweeted to the world @VeeMD “My son is dressing up as a Mad Scientist for Halloween and I am dressing up as a Petri dish.” (Less than140 characters.)

*when bought with qualifying $50 minimum purchase

Updated on October 30, 2011 by Dr. Vee