Avoid Health Horrors This Halloween

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Follow these stay-safe, expert strategies to have a ghostly good time this year!

  • Keep Your Costumes Comfy: Halloween is a big walking holiday. Parades, parties, trick- or-treating travel–these all require striding, so you’ll want a good range of motion. Avoid too-tight, overly loose or long costumes. Why? “It is common for us to see individuals who are injured after tripping over a low hanging costume or cape,” explains Robert Collins, MD, emergency department physician at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. And be selective when choosing accessories. Steer clear of sharp or hard items (products that could puncture or cut the skin if fallen or stumbled upon) as well as accessories that dangle or drag on the ground (which can also cause injury.)
  • Pick Paint Over Masks: The eyeholes in many masks can curtail or obstruct your vision, making it even harder to see in already-dim surroundings. Try some face paint instead (just test skin a few days before Halloween to spotlight any skin reactions), to free up your peepers and be just as spooky. Don’t want to put on face paint? “Use scissors to widen the entire eyehole area of your mask so you can see without any obstruction,” suggests Dr. Collins.
  • Glow For It: Light up dark or winding walking paths with flashlights or glow sticks.
  • Sparkle and Shine: Steer clear of costumes that are coated in dark colors, warns Dr. Collins. Sport bright hues instead to increase your visibility at night.
  • Stay on the Sidewalk: Don’t cut through alleys or yards. These spots can be isolating or have areas of uneven ground (which can set the stage for a nasty spill). “Sprinkler heads, shrubbery, left out hoses and rakes in yards can also be commonplace and lead to breaks or sprains,” explains Dr. Collins, “so stick to paved paths and walk in high traffic areas.”
  • Stock yourself for safety. Charge and take your cell phone along with you before you travel that night so you have it ready to use if you experience any problems. Suffer from food allergies? Pack epinephrine and make your food allergy known to all you encounter, he says. “Life-threatening reactions to peanut allergies in particular, can be common on Halloween and occur very quickly, so you need to be prepared.”

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