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Healthy Balance

Halloween Safety: Stay Healthy and Safe Trick-or-Treating in Charlottesville

trick-or-treating on the lawn on Halloween at UVA in Charlottesville
Trick-or-treaters descend on the UVA Lawn on Halloween 2016.

I’m already beginning to stress about cooking a Thanksgiving turkey and how I’m going to visit 12 people in three states over Christmas. But Halloween feels like the one holiday purely devoted to fun and indulgence, a chance to eat Reese’s cups while uploading Instagram photos of the cat in her mermaid costume.

For some parents, though, Halloween may be a source of stress. Is it really safe to walk around on dark streets? Are the kids eating too much candy?

Halloween Safety Tips

Reduce the risk of trick-or-treating or costume-related injuries with these tips from UVA Children’s Hospital:

  • Choose a flame-resistant costume
  • Make sure masks and costumes fit properly and have good ventilation
  • Wear a reflective bracelet
  • Keep candle-lit pumpkins away from areas with high foot traffic
  • Walk as a group with an adult present
  • Stick to well-lit homes in familiar neighborhoods

Although you should eat only unopened, commercially wrapped candy, Christopher Holstege, MD, co-medical director of the Blue Ridge Poison Center, says it’s “very rare to have problems from a toxicology standpoint.” According to Snopes, there are no documented cases of strangers giving tainted candy to kids.

A Healthier Halloween?

There tend to be two schools of thought when it comes to Halloween candy: Portion control and rationing versus “It’s just one day, so let the kids have as much as they want.” Of course, most parents are also going to be tempted to indulge.

Registered dietitian Angie Hasemann recommended sorting candy into two equal piles: Candy your kids love and candy they don’t. Give away the candy they don’t like as much, perhaps to a community or senior center or a neighbor who doesn’t trick-or-treat.

Once you’ve done that, Hasemann suggests an “out of sight, out of mind” approach with the remaining candy. Chocolate can be portioned into opaque containers in the freezer. You might just forget about it, and at least you’ll be reaching for small portions instead of one big bag of candy. Stash non-chocolate items out of sight as well.

Trick-or-Treat on the UVA Lawn

Get more details and parking information.

Charlottesville Trick-or-Treating

If you can’t or don’t want to trick-or-treat in a neighborhood, trick-or-treating on the UVA Lawn is a fun Charlottesville tradition. Approximately 70 UVA student groups and other organizations will be giving out candy from 4 to 6 p.m.

If you want something a little healthier, the Health System’s family medicine residents will be passing out books for kids up to age 12! Look for them by Pavilion II near the Rotunda.

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