FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 Connecticut Department of Public Health

October 29, 2010                                          Contact: William Gerrish

                                                                      (860) 509-7270



HartfordThe Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) urges parents to take precautions to help keep their children safe and healthy this Halloween.


“Halloween is a holiday filled with fun and excitement for children of all ages,” stated DPH Commissioner Dr. J. Robert Galvin.  “I urge parents to take precautions both before and after trick-or-treating to keep our children safe this Halloween.”


DPH makes the following recommendations:


Treat Tips:

  • Don’t allow children to eat any candy before it is inspected for signs of tampering such as ripped packaging, pinholes, discoloring or any other unusual appearance.
  • Children should only eat commercially prepared and packaged snacks. Homemade candy or baked goods should be discarded.
  • If juice or cider is served to children at Halloween parties, make sure it is pasteurized or otherwise treated to destroy harmful bacteria. Don’t allow children to accept drinks from unknown people.

Costume Tips:

  • Use of face paint rather than a mask can help children see better and avoid dangerous objects such as cars and tripping hazards. Follow all paint directions and never decorate your face with things that are not intended for use on skin. If decorating skin with a product you have never used before, try a dab on an arm for a couple of days to check for an allergic reaction before applying to your face.
  • Decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car’s headlights.
  • Purchase only flame resistant costumes, masks, beards, and wigs.
  • Decorative contact lenses should only be used if distributed by an eye care professional.

Trick or Treating Tips:

  • An adult, or an older, responsible child should always accompany small children.  Children old enough to trick-or-treat on their own should do so in groups.
  • Children should walk, not run, from house to house using sidewalks, instead of walking in the street.
  • Children should only approach houses with outside lights on as a sign of welcome.
  • Carry a flashlight to help see and be seen.
  • Children should not enter homes or apartments unless accompanied by an adult.
  • Be aware of obstacles on lawns, steps and porches, especially candle-lit jack-o-lanterns that may be brushed by a child’s costume, as the costume may catch fire.

Preventing the Spread and Protecting Your Child from Catching a Cold or the Flu:

  • Make sure your child covers his or her coughs and sneezes with a tissue or by coughing into the crook of their elbow.  Coughing and sneezing into the crook of your elbow rather than in your hand allows viruses to be caught in the fabric of your clothing rather than in your hand where you may spread it by touching surfaces.
  • Have your child wash his or her hands often with soap or water, especially after coughing or sneezing.  It is a good idea to have alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you while trick-or-treating in case you do not have access to soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.  People can get the flu when they touch something that has the virus on it and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Keep your child home if he or she is sick.  Having your child stay home if he or she is sick will allow your child to rest as well as protecting others from getting sick.