Dr. Ali Ghahary’s Halloween Health & Safety Tips

Halloween is a time for children and adults to partake in some spooky fun and dress up in their favourite costumes — but of course there are certain things you can do to ensure your Halloween festivities are healthy and safe — starting with those sweet treats!

For the young trick-or-treaters, it’s a good idea for parents to have their child or children sit down to a healthy, well-balanced meal (i.e. protein and vegetables) before going door-to-door collecting candy. By filling up with food prior to trick-or-treating, your child will be less tempted to want to snack late at night or overindulge in sugar. Also avoid using large trick-or-treat bags, like pillowcases. Having too much candy is never a good thing, as it can lead to tooth decay and other health problems. Instead, choose smaller trick-or-treat containers.

While it’s also not uncommon for parents to drive their child from house to house for trick-or-treating, you should encourage them to walk instead. If they aren’t young enough to walk on your own, make sure yourself or another adult is present. Exercise is great for kids as it promotes physical development and even strengthens muscles, which reduces the risk of injury. For adults, exercise has many benefits and can be helpful in reducing the risk of illness and promoting weight loss. If you think you will be out trick-or-treating/walking for an extended period of time, make sure both yourself and your children are wearing comfortable running shoes, as well as clothing that is appropriate for the weather conditions. As it is now much colder in the evenings, it’s a good idea to bring along a jacket, hat, and even scarves and an umbrella. As walkways can be dark, it’s also a good idea to have a flashlight with you to avoid trips and falls.

Once you have finished trick-or-treating, it’s important for parents to carefully examine their children’s candy before letting them eat any of it. For example, some children may have allergies to peanuts or other nuts, which can be found in lots of sweets. To know whether or not your child’s candy is peanut/nut free, look for the peanut/nut free logo. If you are uncertain as to whether or not the candy is free of nuts, discard it. Giving your child any chocolate or candy that has potentially been manufactured in a facility that processes nuts can be just as harmful as if they were to consume nuts. It’s also important to check the expiry dates of the candy/chocolate, and to not let your child consume anything home-made or with questionable ingredients.

For more tips on how to have a healthy, safe and happy Halloween, follow Dr. Ali Ghahary on Twitter at @DrAliGhahary!



Dr. Ali Ghahary is a Family Physician in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. http://www.alighahary.ca

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