Halloween is an ancient celtic tradition celebrated on 31st October. It is fun time for children and is very popular in many parts of the world.
Dangers of trick-or-treating come in many forms.
- Halloween diarrhea’ caused by artificial sweetener sorbitol in the candy.
- Doctors and parents should take special precautions in cases of children suffering from juvenile diabetes.
- Excessive intake of candy without proper oral care may cause tooth decay or dental caries.
- Consumption of processed products with excess amounts of salt, sugar and fat can cause obesity and food allergies.
- There can be an outbreak of serious foodborne infectious disease.
- Cases of deliberate tampering, poisoning and insertion of foreign material in the candy have been reported. Example: A case of perforated appendicitis due to intake of pin.
- There are many cases of burns and house fires during Halloween celebrations. It seems that pumpkins have a round base and some containing many candles can easily overturn causing fires and burns.
- Studies suggest the number of childhood pedestrian deaths increased fourfold among children on Halloween evenings when compared with all other evenings.
- Face paint may contain toxic levels of lead.
- A study on behaviour of children showed that when children were told to take only one candy, anonymous kids took more candies compared to those children whose name and address were known to the giver. Self-awareness and transgression in children: two field studies.
Following safety tips have been suggested :
• Parents should establish a route for children in a known neighbourhood.
• Children should use flashlights, stay on the sidewalk, stop at intersections and cross intersections in a group.
• Motorists should drive slowly and look carefully for children on medians and in alleyways and driveways.
• Children should consider wearing makeup instead of masks, or wear masks that do not obscure sight or hearing.
General safety planning
• Parents should establish a curfew for older adolescents.
• Children should travel in small groups, be accompanied by an adult, visit only well-lit houses and remain on porches rather than entering houses.
• Children should know their phone numbers, carry coins for emergency telephone calls and have their names and addresses attached to their costumes.
• Rigid or sharp costume knives or swords should not be used.
• All treats should be brought home so that parents can inspect them.
• Adults should prepare for trick-or-treaters by clearing porches, lawns and sidewalks and placing jack-o‚-lanterns away from doorways and landings. “
- The dark side to Halloween: marketing unhealthy products to our children?
- Trick or treat? Enjoying halloween when you have diabetes.
- Trick, treat, or toy: children are just as likely to choose toys as candy on halloween.
- The hazards of Halloween.
- Routine screening of Halloween candy: helpful or hazardous?
- ‘Halloween diarrhea’. An unexpected trick of sorbitol-containing candy.
- Should we X-ray Halloween candy? Revisited.
- Halloween appendicitis: pin perforation of the appendix.
- X-raying Halloween candy: a public service?
- Should we X-ray Halloween candy?
- Childhood pedestrian deaths during Halloween – United States 1975-1996. MMWR 1997;46:987-90.
Three Bizarre, Scary Diseases:
2. Waterhouse–Friderichsen syndrome
3. Hypertrichosis ( “Werewolf Syndrome” )
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