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  • Oct 24, 2022

Let’s go trick-or-treating!

CHA pediatrician offers safety and health insight

By Lisa Dobberteen, MD, Pediatrician at CHA Cambridge Pediatrics

Halloween is right around the corner. It's a fun night for youth and families to spend time together exploring neighborhoods and snacking on yummy treats! It's also an excellent opportunity to discover new healthy snacks, get some exercise and focus on safety. Below are a few reminders to keep in mind on Halloween this year.

  • Halloween offers a nice opportunity to get some fresh air and exercise while meeting others in your building or neighborhood. If your neighborhood doesn't feel safe, many shopping malls offer the experience, or you could join a friend in a different neighborhood.
  • Let your children express creativity with their costumes, but make sure they are safe. Be sure your child can see well out of any mask or hood. Room underneath for warm clothes is important, particularly in the chilly New England climate. Sturdy footwear keeps little goblins on their feet the whole evening without tripping or falling.
  • Visibility is key! Make sure others can see your children. Incorporate some reflective paint or tape into the costume design so your child is easily seen by others on the road. Have them carry a flashlight or wear a headlight; clipping a flashing bicycle light to costumes also enhances visibility.
  • Children should ask before they eat anything they've been given. This gives parents an opportunity to take a quick look first. Homemade treats and unwrapped goodies should be set aside for careful scrutiny at home unless they've come from a trusted friend.
  • Halloween is a good time to practice "Everything in moderation" (grownups, too!). It's helpful and healthy for children to learn to eat a few treats and save the rest for later. This approach also offers children a chance to learn to be generous and share their goodies.
  • Halloween in the time of COVID-19: Mask when you're indoors with people you don't live with. Outdoor parties are safer and more relaxing.
  • A special note about life-threatening food allergies. For some children, a special trip to a haunted house or other fun activity could substitute for trick-or-treating. Others may be able to participate but need all treats especially carefully screened by parents before trying anything. Some parents who want their children to experience the fun of going out in costume carry along their own allergen-free treats to put in their kids' bags at each house. Having a party at home with allergen-free treats is another way to enjoy the holiday safely.

Happy Halloween and please stay safe! Remember to get your flu and COVID shots!

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