Halloween season can bring friends and family fun and many scares, but don’t let one of those scares be food illness. Whether you’re hosting a Halloween party or just going trick-or-treating, educating yourself on the proper food safety practices will help prevent foodborne illness.
Halloween Party Food Safety Tips
Hosting a Halloween party for friends and family? A #Halloween party can be a lot of fun, but don’t let food illness ruin the memorable occasion. Follow these simple food safety tips:
- Learn about foodborne pathogens, cross contamination, hot and cold food holding, personal hygiene and how to prevent foodborne illnesses.
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- Unpasteurized juice or cider. Beware spooky cider! Unpasteurized juice or cider can contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella. To stay safe, always serve pasteurized products at your parties.
- Raw dough or cake. No matter how tempting, don’t taste raw cookie dough or cake batter that contain uncooked eggs.
- Keep Perishable foods refrigerated. “Scare” bacteria away by keeping all perishable foods chilled until serving time. These include finger sandwiches, cheese platters, fruit or tossed salads, cold pasta dishes with meat, poultry, or seafood, and cream pies or cakes with whipped-cream and cream-cheese frostings.
- Bacteria-free apples. Bobbing for apples is a classic Halloween game, but dirty apples can present a significant food safety risk. Reduce the number of bacteria that might be present by thoroughly rinsing apples under water and using a produce brush to remove surface dirt.
- Use the 2-hour rule. Bacteria will creep up on you if you let foods sit out too long. Don’t leave perishable goodies out of the fridge for more than two hours (1 hour in temperatures above 90°F).
Safe Halloween Candy and Treats
Eating candy and sweet treats is also a big part of the fun on Halloween. If you’re trick-or-treating, health and safety experts say you should remember these tips:
- Inspect before eating. Don’t eat candy until it has been inspected at home.
- Homemade treats. Avoid homemade goodies from people you don’t know. The CDC recommends avoiding eating homemade treats made by strangers since there is no way to ensure the person preparing them followed proper food safety procedures.
- Eat before heading out. Trick-or-treaters should eat a snack before heading out, so they won’t be tempted to nibble on treats that haven’t been inspected.
- Food allergies. If your child has 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.
- Choking hazards. Parents of very young children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys.
- Check for tampering. 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.
- SafeWise -The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Kids Safe on Halloween
You want your kids to enjoy a hauntingly fun night this Halloween, but like most parents you’re probably concerned about their safety. Relax and read on. From toddlers to teens, we’ve put together the ultimate checklist for keeping your kids safe on Halloween.