by Alexa Bigwarfe

Ready for some Halloween trivia? Do you know who produces the most pumpkins in the United States? The top six pumpkin-producing states are Illinois, California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, in 2011, those six states harvested $113 million dollars’ worth of pumpkins. As of 2010, California had the most amount of establishments manufacturing non-chocolate candies, with 49 of them (U.S. Census Bureau).

Halloween can be a really fun and enjoyable evening but not all Halloween facts are fun. The harsh reality is this: on Halloween, children are two- four times more likely to be hit and killed by a car than any other day. That’s a scary fact. (Pun not intentional.) There is potential for injury through Halloween activities.

Follow these tips to ensure everyone has a safe Halloween.

Trick-or-Treating Safety
– Children under twelve should not be out alone. They should be supervised by an adult, and if at all possible, traveling in a group. Older children should plan a route with their parents and have an established return time.
– Walk on sidewalks or other paths and make sure to check before crossing any streets.
– Only visit homes with the porch light on.
– Ensure your children are carrying glow sticks or flashlights so that drivers can see them better.

A note to drivers: most children trick or treat between 5:30 and 9:30, so slow down and be vigilant if driving during those hours.

Costume Safety
– Select a costume that fits well. If their costume is too big, there’s a good chance they will trip and fall.
– Pick out flame resistant costumes and do not walk too closely to lit candles.
– Use reflective tape on their costumes and bags.
– Avoid masks that can obscure their vision.
– Test out make up first to make sure your child does not have a sensitivity.
– Don’t use over the counter decorative contact lenses.

Pumpkin Carving Safety
– Allow the kids to draw on the pumpkins, but never cut them. Young children should not handle knives.
– Make sure pumpkins with candles are placed far from anything that they may catch on fire.
– Keep matches or lighters stored safely out of reach.
– Candles in a votive is the safest route, but consider glow sticks rather than a lit flame.

Stranger Danger: Remind your children
– Never accept rides from strangers.
– Do not enter a stranger’s house.
– Stay in familiar areas.
– Do not accept treats or candy that are not factory wrapped.

Food Safety
– If you’re going to parties, don’t forget common food safety. Don’t leave food out that needs to be refrigerated.
– Feed your child a meal prior to parties to help them avoid over eating candy and other foods that may lead to stomach pains.
– Have an adult sort through all of the candy once the children are home and throw out any candies that are unwrapped.
– If hosting parties, provide some fun, yet healthy treats.
– Finally, ration that candy over the next thirty days.

Have a fantastic, spooky, and safe Halloween!

Alexa Bigwarfe is the mother of three little ghouls. They very much enjoy darting into the street and eating too much candy on Halloween.

Other great resources for Safety tips:

http://www.cookinglight.com/entertaining/holidays-occasions/healthy-halloween
http://www.pbs.org/parents/kitchenexplorers/2011/10/18/healthy-halloween-snacks/
http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Halloween.shtml
http://www.safekids.org/halloween#sthash.hH1GRr5D.dpuf
http://www.safekids.org/tip/halloween-safety-tips
http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween

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