Tips to Practice Food Safety this Halloween

Vampires, zombies, and superheros may not have much in common on the surface, but chances are they’ll all be snacking on something sweet and sugary come Halloween. To help ensure they snack safely this October 31, Foodsafety.gov has published a number of tips and strategies for minding food safety while enjoying the holiday. Local health departments can use this resource to educate their communities on the best ways to keep every trick-or-treater safe.

Notable tips for trick-or-treating include:

  • Safe treats: Tell children not to accept—and especially not to eat—anything that isn’t commercially wrapped. Parents should also inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering such as unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers.
  • Food allergies: Parents of children with food allergies should check all candy labels to ensure the allergen isn’t present. They should also throw away any home-baked goods the child might have received.

The guidance also includes tips on how to safely bob for apples and throw Halloween parties. Notable items include:

  • Thoroughly rinse apples under cool, running water and use a produce brush to scrub off surface dirt.
  • Don’t serve unpasteurized juice or cider at parties because it can contain Salmonella.
  • Keep all perishable food chilled until served, and don’t let food sit out for longer than two hours.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have developed additional resources to help keep revelers safe on Halloween.

About Katie Regan

Katie Regan serves as the Communications Specialist for Environmental Health, Pandemic Preparedness, and Catastrophic Response at NACCHO. Her work includes promoting local health departments' best practices through NACCHO's various storytelling and communications channels. Twitter: @katiejregan

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