Nicholas Cooley, M.D.
Halloween fun all starts with a great costume. However, parents often make a few common mistakes when choosing their child’s costume.
At Mayo Clinic Health System, we really want everyone to have a safe and fun Halloween night. Parents can help their children stay safe and avoid a hospital visit by following a few simple rules when choosing costumes.
Here are five top costume health concerns and how to avoid them:
- Beware of borrowed costumes. Wearing an unwashed costume from last year or one that’s been borrowed can cause skin infections from leftover bacteria. Wash any costume before use.
- Avoid mask hazards. Wearing a mask can result in difficulty seeing, headaches, acne or a skin infection if it doesn’t fit properly. Make sure to try on the mask for a few minutes before buying it, and have your children and teenagers wash their faces after the Halloween fun is over.
- Mitigate makeup mistakes. Some makeup can contain dyes and other components that can cause skin irritations and rashes. A few days before Halloween night, test the makeup on a small patch of skin on the arm or stomach to make sure your child isn’t allergic.
- Ditch colored contacts. Wearing nonprescription colored contacts can cause scratches, infection or blindness. These eye accessories aren’t made to fit each individual’s eye. Avoid the contacts, and opt for eye makeup or fun glasses instead.
- Choose flame-resistant items. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one of the most common reasons kids visit the hospital on Halloween is from burns from flammable costumes. Purchase costumes with “flame-resistant” on the tag.
Traffic safety is extra important on Halloween because of the low visibility. Remind your children to watch for cars. As an added safety measure, have your children decorate their costume with reflective tape or stickers, and carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
Nicholas Cooley, M.D., is a family medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare in La Crosse.