Halloween is fast approaching and with it will come the usual hubbub of costumes, decorations and spooky snacks. We will likely see a lot fewer trick or treaters and less venues throwing large events in an endeavour to keep people safe from Covid 19 – but hopefully we still get the usual opportunity to let our hair down (or don a wig and Halloween contact lenses) to make the most of the holiday. Just because the parties might be digital, doesn’t mean we have to give up the opportunity to get creative and spend some much-needed time with friends and family. That being said, don’t let the change of pace let you overlook the common health concerns associated with the much loved tradition. Nobody wants their Halloween ruined by a costume faux pas that results in an issue with your health. So, follow these top tips and make sure yours goes smoothly.
When it comes to reused, hired or perhaps borrowed costumes, you must always be careful of the hygiene factor. Reusing a costume you’ve had for a while is always an economical and environmental choice. In doing this you save yourself the time of shopping or searching for the needed pieces for your costume and you also save money. This is even more favourable given the fact that many costumes and other retail shops will be closed requiring an added cost of postage. Borrowing a costume may also be an option for you. This will allow you to try something new without having to purchase it – another great money and time saver. Otherwise you might want to rent or hire a costume from a company that has a large selection to choose from. While that option can be a bit pricey, it is the ideal way to find what you’re looking for in one place and get it a bit cheaper than buying it to keep – not to mention you aren’t buying low quality costumes that will only make their way to landfill. Despite all the options you might have for getting the ideal costume – you must always be careful to ensure the costume is well stored and has been cleaned before use. The threat of bacteria or mould growing on costumes has always been a concern. Often left in storage for most of the year and sometimes not washed or dried properly before being put away. You should always thoroughly wash a costume before wearing it so as not to encourage any negative health consequences.
We’re all very well versed in wearing masks by now having worn medical and material ones quite a lot in the last 18 months. Theoretically you are washing your reusable, material masks frequently so as to keep them fresh but also to help with the hygiene factor of them. The same can be said for Halloween masks. It is easy to forget the last time you wore your werewolf full faced mask, but it is for this reason that you must be super diligent before popping it on this year – even more so if it is hired or borrowed. In previous years your concerns would likely include bacteria from sweat during a previous wear that could lead to an acne breakout. However, this year you must also think of the potential that there could be traces of Covid 19 inside the mask. Be sure to disinfect and wash any inside surface area before putting on the mask.
Another obvious health concern comes from the extra bits and bobs that go into a costume such as make up/face paints and colored contact lenses. Painting your entire face green or white will definitely add to your witch or ghost costume and everyone loves an eyeliner whisker and button nose but it is extremely important that you ensure the materials you are using are safe and uncontaminated. Diseases and disorders of the skin are fairly common and some, such as staph, can be deadly. You should always make sure that you are wiping the surface of your make up or face paint pallet and deep cleansing any tools for application that you might be using. Similarly, a pair of white contacts might finish your zombie look and red contact lenses will complete your attempts to be a vampire for the night, but just as it is with make up, these products can lead to health concerns if not cared for and administered properly. You must always ensure that if you are not using brand new contacts that you have stored them correctly and they are undamaged and uncontaminated. Plus. Don’t forget to properly wash your hands before applying them to your eye. The last thing you need is conjunctivitis – or worse.
Lastly, it may seem obvious, but be careful with your flammable clothing around any candles. Between jack-o-lanterns and the desire for a spooky vibe it is extremely common for Halloween to go hand in hand with the use of candles. A lot of costumes inherently make this a bit of a fire hazard. Whether you’re a cowboy with an array of tassels up your sleeve or you’re wearing a mask and can’t completely see where you are going fire is something to be aware of. The easiest way to avoid this danger is to ensure that all flames are in safe areas, whether that is on a bench up high or has other objects around it to ensure no accidental contact will be made with costumes. Perhaps you could consider getting the electronic and non flammable options if this is a concern of yours. Another way to enhance safety is to avoid flammable materials. As a lot of Halloween costumes are made cheaply and in an almost disposable manner, a lot of them are made with thin, synthetic material which fire just loves. Where you can (if you think it’s likely you might come in contact with a flame) try to aim for more cottons and natural materials that are thicker and less likely to go up in flames quite as quick. Steering clear of candles all together may be the best option for those of you like myself who tend to pair Halloween with a night of drinking too.