Written by: Edward Attaway, O.D.
Board Certified Optometric Physician
For thousands of years, the transition from Fall to Winter has been recognized by many societies as a time for celebration. From the ancient Celts to modern day societies the various rituals often included the wearing of costumes, and gatherings to celebrate the harvest, honor the dead, or even ward off evil spirits. Fortunately, today’s celebrations are more geared toward fun activities for “kids” of all ages especially “trick or treating”, but even with the emphasis on child-friendly activities, the risk of injury is still present and precautions should be taken.
Costumes are an integral part of any Halloween celebration, but a little common sense can go a long way toward preventing injuries. Swords, knives and other costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible. Costumes should have reflecting material, and flashlights are recommended to enhance visibility. Masks should fit snugly, but still allow adequate sight to avoid trips and falls. Make-up, especially if worn on or near the face and eyes, should be tested on a small area first to reduce the risk of skin or eye irritation. Decorative contact lenses should not be worn unless professionally fitted by a licensed eye care practitioner.
When trick or treating, it is important to walk in groups, and younger children should have a trusted adult accompanying them. Always examine treats for tampering and choking hazards before eating, and be especially wary of homemade treats from strangers. Whenever possible, walk on sidewalks or on the far edge of the road facing traffic. Walk, don’t run, between houses, and never enter the house of a stranger.
Regardless of the origins of the event, Halloween can be a fun event with opportunities to bond with friends and families. A few common sense safety precautions can only enhance this celebration.