SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) — The Illinois Department of Public Health released guidance Wednesday to encourage Illinoisans to stay safe while celebrating Halloween.
While COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are looser than the last two years, illness and injury related to Halloween are still common.
Over half of the average 3,200 Halloween injuries are related to pumpkin caring, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), with another 25% coming from falls while decorating, tripping on costumes, or walking while trick-or-treating.
IDPH shared CPSC’s advice for keeping your body safe during all your favorite Halloween activities.
Pumpkin carving tips
- Leave pumpkin carving to the adults. Child helpers can grab a spoon and scoop out the inside or use a marker to trace the design.
- When your jack-o’-lantern masterpiece is ready, use battery-operated lights or glow sticks rather than an open-flame candle.
- If using open-flame candles, keep them away from curtains, decorations and other combustibles that could catch fire.
- Never leave burning candles unattended.
- Wear a costume that fits and avoid overly long or baggy costumes to prevent trips and falls.
- Costumes with loose, flowing fabrics can also be a fire hazard when close to open flames – keep away.
- Reduce fire hazards by choosing costumes made of polyester or nylon fabric and not sheer cotton or rayon fabric. However, any fabric can burn if it comes in contact with an open flame.
- Use reflective tape as a trim for costumes and outerwear to help being seen in lower light. Wearing a brightly colored costume and carrying a flashlight or glow stick can also help brighten the walkways for trick-or-treaters.
Families participating in trick-or-treating should also check with their town’s specific hours and any other guidelines put out by local government.
- Prevent fires by using battery-operated lights and glow sticks instead of candles.
- Pay attention to the placement of decorations. To help prevent falls, remove obstacles from lawns, steps and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.
- Indoors or outside, only use lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets.
In addition to safety tips for preventing injury, IDPH also recommended keeping yourself safe from COVID-19, the flu, and other seasonal illnesses by being prepared.
“The most important action everyone can take to protect themselves is to be fully up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations and the updated bivalent booster shots, as well as the seasonal flu shot,” read the release.
The release shared additional tips from the CDC on preventing the spread of disease.
- If you are sick or feel symptoms, stay home! Skip the Halloween party and trick-or-treating if you aren’t feeling well.
- Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
- Take precautions in crowded or indoor events as informed by your county’s COVID-19 Community Level, like wearing a high-quality mask (and Halloween masks don’t count).
- If you’re hosting celebrations, include outdoor spaces if possible and review options for improving ventilation in your home. This can help you reduce virus particles in your home and keep COVID-19 from spreading.
- Keep your hands clean. If you’re out trick-or-treating, bring hand sanitizer. If you’re giving out candy, wash your hands frequently.
Remember: this year, stick to costume cuts and bruises or fake flesh-eating viruses while keeping yourself safe.