Columns/Opinion, MaryWade Triplett

Check your treats to avoid any tricks this Halloween

I’ll always remember the Halloween I went as a 7 Up can, based on a commercial that was popular at the time. My father fashioned a costume for me by rolling a giant piece of cardboard into a cylinder shape. With his mechanical drawing background, he meticulously sketched out and painted the bright green background and red and white logo.

I’m not sure if it had eyes cut out for me to see or if a parental unit led me around as we trick-or-treated. My super cute go-go boots also probably were not ideal for walking, but I made it work.

Then there were many Halloweens my sister and I would join a bunch of other kids and stay out way after dark, covering quite a large swath of our neighborhood without adult supervision.

But things have changed. This Halloween, about 41 million children are expected to go trick-or-treating, according to the United States Census Bureau. Monongalia County Health Department’s Environmental Health program wants to remind parents and kids of ways to stay safe on Oct. 31. The first rule is for drivers to go slowly and keep your eyes peeled for trick-or-treaters.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( has made it easy to remember simple tips to keep children safe on this fun holiday with a “Safe Halloween” acronym:

S — Swords, knives and other costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.

A — Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

F — Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

E — Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

H — Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and to help others see you. Walk, don’t run, from house to house.

A — Always test makeup in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

L — Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible.

L — Lower your risk for serious eye injury by avoiding decorative contact lenses.

O — Only walk on sidewalks, whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

W — Wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.

E — Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.

E — Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lighted houses. Never accept rides from strangers.

N — Never walk near lighted candles or luminaries. Wear flame-resistant costumes.

Another tip when handing out Halloween treats: Many children have allergies to products such as peanuts and chocolate, so diversify your candy supply.

And if you are having a party or are expecting trick-or-treaters at your home, here are additional tips:

Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks. For guests, offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.

Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lighted and free of obstacles that could cause someone to fall.

Keep candle-lit jack-o’-lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children and never leave them unattended.

For additional tips, check out the CDC’s website,

CONTACT MARY WADE TRIPLETT at 304-598-5152 or at and find out more about MCHD at or on Facebook and Twitter @wvmchd