Thursday, 14 October 2010

Trip or treat? Halloween health and safety.....

Halloween preparations are in full swing here. As of last weekend, everyone's decorations are up; perfectly normal suburban houses have now been transformed into haunted mansions, complete with fake gravestones on the front lawns, ghosts dangling from porches and fake spider webs all over the shrubbery. Our drives around the neighbourhood are punctuated by 'spot the pumpkin' games and in addition we've seen large inflatable black cats and even what Littleboy 2 called a 'pumpkin snowman' on local front lawns. (You'll have to use your imagination here....I do intend to take some pictures this year, but am just working out a way to do it discreetly.)

If more proof were required that Halloween decorations are an integral part of life in the US, this morning The Doctor forwarded me part of the local weather forecast that he had seen online, warning about possibly winds this weekend. It reads 'Residents should take precautions at this time to protect property...such as Halloween decorations....that are susceptible to strong gusty winds'. In other words, expect smashing pumpkins and flying inflatable witches this weekend....

And, as if this weren't enough, I have just received a press release, warning me about the dangers of Halloween and offering injury prevention tips, from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, no less. Apparently, Halloween is 'among the top three holidays producing the most ER visits'. Injuries from Halloween are most likely to be finger/hand related ones (from all that pumpkin carving); and of course, jack o'lanterns are potential fire hazards.

Then there are those pesky Halloween costumes. The press release tells me that 'costumes should be flame retardant and fit properly' and that 'costumes that are too long could cause children to trip or fall'. (No shit, Sherlock).

Children should also apparently be wearing 'sturdy, comfortable, slip resistant shoes' when they go trick or treating.' (Presumably because this involves walking around, something that children almost never do in suburbia...).

Other trick or treating advice includes taking a flashlight, being aware of neighbourhood dogs, and that 'it's a good idea to carry a cellphone when trick or treating, in case of emergencies'.

Who knew that Halloween could be so dangerous? I'm spooked already......

11 comments:

Iota said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Iota said...

What about sugar overload? Do some kids get rushed to ER in hyper-active mode, and bounce round the ceiling for a while before being allowed home?

Here, I've noticed there are stores which have opened JUST for Hallowe'en. Maybe I'm just in a grumpy mood, but honestly, there is something a bit wrong with the idea of everyone piling into a new store, buying loads of decorations, gimmicks and gadgets, for a festival that celebrates.... what, exactly? And then it'll all be chucked out, or into garage sales, to make room for next year's tat.

I've come to appreciate the dressing up and the fun and the neighbourliness, but it's the accumulation of plastic tat that I can't love. It's all going to end up in a land fill, or that great Pacific plastic garbage patch. Will there be areas of the garbage patch that are orange (Hallowe'en) and then other areas that are red/green (Christmas)?

Sorry. I'm being a bit of a killjoy here.

Nota Bene said...

No trick or treating here :-(

PantsWithNames said...

Photos! Photos! Photos! Ask London City Mum for tips on how to take them discretely.

Expat mum said...

Most people round here would be proud to have photos of their decked out house taken.
As for flame retardent costumes - eek. I've just made a robot one out of a cardboard box and painted it with highly toxic smelling silver paint. Must keep him away from the pumpkins!

Calif Lorna said...

We're getting the same, huge inflatable things in front gardens. I quite like it, especially all the pumpkins and Fall decorations. Did not know it was so dangerous though, will make sure we all take care!

nappy valley girl said...

Iota - we have those Halloween stores too. I wonder what their owners do for the rest of the year? And yes, such a lot of it is useless tat. But I do like people's pumpkin displays....

NB - why not??

Pants - yes, I know I've just got to go and do it - but it's difficult to blend in when you're walking around in the suburbs!

Expat Mum - and don't forget to carry your cellphone, obviously!

Lorna - well, if you're going to dress up in costumes and walk around, it's bound to be dangerous...er, right?

Amodernmother said...

When we were little the big worry was people putting razor blades in apples. At least that is what my mother told me. We're having a low key Halloween here.

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Mwa said...

Makes you wonder how much common sense they reckon people have, or at least the people they're addressing.

Kate said...

But at least no one in your neighborhood went so far as to actually ban kids over the age of 12 from trick-or-treating, like they did in Belleville, Illinois.

According to Detroit Fox News, "Police aren't looking to throw any 13-year olds in the slammer, so they're enforcing the law with a 'warn and release' tactic."