K-State Research and Extension News
October 20, 2011
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Skip the Scary: Halloween Safety Tips Protect Holiday Goblins

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The excitement in choosing a costume and parading among neighbors and friends can distract children and make them more vulnerable to food-related hazards.

“Limiting trick or treating to your immediate neighborhood or a community-sponsored event is recommended,” said Karen Blakeslee, K-State Research and Extension food scientist, who urged parents and children to be cautious with holiday foods:

* Offer a light meal or snack prior to trick or treating or other holiday event, so that children will be less hungry, less likely to eat on the run, and less likely to sample unknown treats.

* Encourage children to respectfully decline candy and other foods that are not commercially packaged. Examples might include a homemade caramel apple or popcorn ball, hand full of peanuts or candy corn.

* Be ready and waiting to help trick or treaters sort candy and discard treats containing known allergens (nuts, for example) and others that could cause choking (hard candy or small toy) or injury (such as a sharp pencil).

* Encourage children to choose preferred treats and enjoy one or two, before storing candy out of site.

* Integrate holiday candy intro meals and snacks over the next few weeks to manage sweets – and extend holiday enjoyment.

At community or other events, Blakeslee advises 1) checking to make sure cider is pasteurized, and 2) if bobbing for apples, to wash apples before adding them to the tub.

At parties, “scare” bacteria away by keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold, said Blakeslee, who advised keeping trays of party foods stored safely until goblins arrive, and, also, to not leave perishable food at room temperature for more than two hours.

More information about food science and safety is available at K-State Research and Extension offices throughout the state, and online and at the KSRE Rapid Response Center.


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Nancy Peterson
K-State Research & Extension News

Karen Blakeslee is at 785-532-1673