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Halloween treats come in all shapes and sizes, but sometimes they can be dangerous.

For Halloween food safety advice, the following tips will help keep little ghosts and goblins safe.

If your child has a food allergy, the following can let them enjoy their Halloween haul while avoiding any problematic foods:

  • Look for teal pumpkins Families who display teal pumpkins offer non-candy treats for trick-or-treaters who may have allergies.
  • Check all treats Make sure your child knows not to eat any candy before you check it at home. Look for ingredient lists on pre-packaged candy, and throw out any homemade treats since you can’t positively identify their ingredients.
  • Buy treats for your child Buy some small trinkets (check out the non-candy suggestions listed below) to give your children on Halloween. That way, if they end up not being able to eat much of their candy, they won’t feel left out.
  • Exchange or donate what your child can’t eat Find a local Halloween Candy Buy Back event in your area where kids can exchange candy for cash or prizes. You can also donate it to veterans’ groups or other organizations.

Check for signs of tampering: Although tampering with candy is rare, it does happen. Look for any evidence of the following:

  • An unusual appearance
  • Discoloration
  • Tiny pinholes
  • Tears in wrappers

Throw out homemade treats unless they’re from someone you know very well. If something looks suspicious, throw it out, and if you find actual evidence of tampering, notify the police.

Eliminate choking hazards: Some Halloween treats can be choking hazards, especially for small children. Look through their bags to eliminate the following:

  • Peanuts
  • Hard candies
  • Gum
  • Raisins
  • Gooey candy like caramel, taffy or marshmallows
  • Small toys such as balls or marbles

In addition, make sure kids don’t lie down when they’re eating their Halloween candy, since this can increase their risk of choking.

Party host precautions: Candy from outside your home isn’t the only possible treat-related danger. If you’re hosting a Halloween party or planning other holiday activities for your family, take the following precautions:

  • Clean fruit If you’re bobbing for apples, rinse them thoroughly and use a produce brush.
  • Avoid raw dough Don’t eat raw cookie dough or cake batter, which can contain bacteria.
  • Refrigerate properly Don’t leave food out on the table or counter for too long. Keep items refrigerated until they’re ready to serve, and don’t leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.
  • Offer non-food alternatives You don’t have to limit yourself to handing out candy. Kids enjoy small toys or other treats, and you won’t have to worry about allergies or stuffing them with too much candy. Dollar stores are great places to pick up multiple items packaged together, such as the following:
  • Glow sticks
  • Plastic rings with spiders, skulls, etc.
  • Small bubble bottles
  • Stickers
  • Mini notepads
  • Bouncy balls
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Vampire teeth
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Stencils
  • Silly bands
  • Small playing cards
  • Small cans of Play-Doh
  • Finger puppets