News Release

October 26, 2004

Contact: Jane Shaskan, 860-679-4777
e-mail: shaskan@nso.uchc.edu

Halloween Safety Primer

No Tricks, Just Treats

FARMINGTON, CONN. – Ghosts and goblins and witches’ brew and little kids haunting you. It’s Halloween, for most kids a holiday second only to Christmas and for parents an excuse to indulge in some of their kids’ booty. But before sending the little urchins out on the spooky road here is some advice from your local Poison Control Center at UConn Health Center for a successful undertaking.

  • Make-up: Inexpensive commercial Halloween makeup kits are available where Halloween items are sold. Or make your own by mixing 1 teaspoon cornstarch and teaspoon each of cold cream and water; then add food coloring. The only safe facial glue is adhesive made for adhering false eyelashes. Shoe polish, markers, and other inks may contain skin irritants and are not safe substitutes. Avoid glitter which can irritate the eyes. 
  • Decorations: Enjoy making decorations with your children from colored construction and other colored papers. They’re made with vegetable dyes and are perfectly safe. Watercolors can be used to decorate glass windows. Glues made for paper are considered safe. Avoid model cement, epoxy, and especially superglues. Be cautious if you’re making a “witches’ brew” with dry ice. In contained areas, the “fog” from dry ice can irritate the lungs, and if bare skin comes in contact with dry ice, it can cause a frostbite burn. 
  • Treats: Parents should look over the kids’ candy bag. Discard opened candy and homemade items unless you know where they came from, and trust they’re safe. If anything looks suspicious, call your local police department. Keep the booty away from pets. Candy can easily make them sick, especially chocolate. 
  • Costume extras: Glow light sticks or jewelry, with self contained phosphorescent packets – check the label and follow safety precautions – are fun to use, but they don’t provide much light. This year Halloween will be on standard time so kids will be on the streets after dark. As a safety measure, provide them with flashlights. When you’re back at home, be sure to take the flashlights back – the batteries contain toxic materials. Reflective clothing and shoes are also recommended. 
  • Basic safety: Younger children should always be accompanied by an adult. Be sure kids can see out of their masks. Trick or treat in your own neighborhood.

“Kids love Halloween,” said Iris Barko, lead poison information specialist at UConn Health Center’s poison control center. “With accurate information, and a few simple precautions, it’s a great time,” she said.

If you suspect a poisoning, don't wait to see what happens. Call the poison prevention emergency hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at www.uchc.edu.

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