To Trick or Treat?

Ghoul, goblin, ghost
Warrior, witch, warlock,
Princess, Power Ranger, pirate

All Hallows Eve, The Bewitching Hour, All Saints’ Eve, black cats and broom sticks. There are a lot of choices to be made as Halloween approaches. And these choices aren’t just for children. Adults can get in on the fun, too.

Stores have had October merchandise stocked since before the beach towels, floaties, and blow-up pools were put on clearance. The back-to-school supplies have been pushed to the side to make way for Halloween. While most of the Halloween treats can wait till closer to the witching hour (so you won’t eat them all before the 31st), it’s that time of year when the best-of-the-best Halloween costumes are going to get snatched up quickly if you’re not on top of your game. Just ask those moms who waited “just a little bit later” last year and found themselves scrambling to find the costume their young ones begged for.

If your child wants to be a specific character, who might be particularly popular this year, you better go ahead and get the costume or your youngster might be a knight in shining armor with a bath towel cape and aluminum foil sword. But costumes aren’t just for the younger set. Don’t forget to pick out something special for yourself, as well.

But before you head to the store, the Food and Drug Administration wants you to remember these safety tips when choosing a costume:

  • Avoid baggy outfits and flowing cloaks. These stray pieces can easily brush across an open flame or trip up a trick or treater when they’re walking.
  • Shoes should be comfortable with laces securely tied. Decorative heels and oversized shoes can result in a painful spill.
  • Be sure to buy costumes that are labeled as flame resistant. With flickering candles and jack-o-lanterns there are many open flames around on Halloween night.
  • Make sure that any makeup you use is hypoallergenic. Nothing is less fun than a rash on Halloween.
  • Never use decorative contact lenses. Most aren’t certified by optometrists and can cause severe eye damage.
  • Avoid costumes and props with sharp edges. You want to make sure the only kids with eye patches are ones dressed as pirates.
  • You’ll often find dozens of trick or treaters coming to your door in the same costumes. Unique costumes are recommended so your child is easy to pick out in a crowd. If your child is wearing a similar costume to others, make sure to add something which stands out from the rest.
  • Make sure any masks being worn are easy to see out of. Obscured vision can lead to accidents.
  • Don’t rely on flashlights being the only thing that makes your trick or treater visible. Use reflective tape and glow sticks to make sure drivers can clearly see your child as they cross the street. Additionally, don’t ever let your kids go out in an all-black costume, no matter how scary they may look.

According to a variety of Halloween websites these will be the popular digs this year for children:

  • Buzz Lightyear and Woody
  • Ariel, Little Mermaid
  • Bluey Characters
  • Stranger Things
  • Green Ninja
  • Spiderman
  • Mirabel
  • Maverick Flight Suit Pilot
  • Baby Shark
  • Dinosaur
  • Fairy
  • Harley Quinn
  • Cowboy
  • Thor

And for the adults?

  • Boris Johnson
  • Joe Biden
  • JLo and Ben Affleck
  • Stranger Things Demogorgon
  • Obi –Wan and Darth Vader
  • Free Guy
  • King Richard
  • Squid Game
  • #FreeBritney
  • Jeff Bezos the Astronaut
  • The Hot Dog Guy
  • Joe Exotic
  • The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda
  • Jon Snow
  • Hopper

Smell my feet
Give me something good to eat!

The next most important task is getting the treats you will be handing out to young Draculas, mermaids, pirates, and ponies. Halloween candy buying is a $3 billion industry. In 2021, announced that Mississippi’s favorite treat was 3 Musketeer (who did they ask?) followed by Snickers and Butterfinger (that’s more like it). However, in 2021, Instacart named candy corn tops in the state, along with seven other states. (Really?)

If you want to be “the house on the block” with the coolest candy then try an assortment of these Top 10 favorites:

  • Reese’s Cups
  • Skittles
  • M&M’s
  • Starburst
  • Hot Tamales
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Hershey Kisses
  • Snickers
  • Tootsie Pops
  • Candy Corn

While eating sweet treats is a big part of Halloween fun, make sure you sort through your child’s candy bag before they snack on any goodies.

Before you or your children go trick-or-treating, remember these tips:

  • Eat a snack before heading out to avoid the temptation of nibbling on a treat before it has been inspected.
  • Parents of very young children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys from the Halloween bags.
  • Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.

There are those children who have allergies who can’t trick-or-treat like other children. Until now. The Teal Pumpkin Project asks people who are providing food-free Halloween treats to put a teal pumpkin on their porch or a sticker in their window to let trick-or-treaters know. Some parents have even been known to go from house to house ahead of their child to give the treaters a special Halloween treat their youngster can eat. While Halloween and healthy aren’t two words that really go together, here are some healthier, allergy-friendly options:

  • Yogurt Raisins
  • Granola Bars
  • Pirates Booty
  • Craisins
  • Sensible Portions Crispy Fruit. Or other individually packaged dried fruit
  • Fruit cups. Grab a pack of mandarin orange cups and use a sharpie to draw little faces on them for a spooky Jack O’Lantern treat
  • Fruit snacks
  • Pouches (fruit and veggie pouches)
  • Goldfish. It’s easy to find individually packed Goldfish crackers year round, but in October they have spooky themed ones perfect for Trick or Treaters
  • Lara bars. Just make sure you have a non nut option for allergies
  • Juice boxes
  • Popcorn (for children over 4 years of age)
  • Trail mix
  • Fig bars
  • Water bottles

In case of a food allergy, check the label to ensure the allergen isn’t present. Tell children not to accept—or eat—anything that isn’t commercially wrapped. There are some treaters who would prefer giving out small trinkets. Some non-food options might include:

  • Glow sticks, glow necklaces and bracelets
  • Laser finger lights
  • Halloween pencils
  • Crayons
  • Bubbles
  • Mini notepads
  • Stickers
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Silly straws
  • Matchbox cars
  • Play-Doh
  • Sidewalk chalk

No matter what you choose to wear or how you choose to celebrate, have a safe, fun time. And beware of ghosts and goblins in the bushes.