From community to costumes: Halloween safety in 2017


Natalie O'Dell

A Halloween decoration hung on a holly tree in the photographer’s neighborhood.

Kennedy Brown and Tessa Wild

Halloween is a holiday filled with fun and candy, but it can also bring about some dangers. Parents and kids alike have many concerns about the safety of the holiday, concerning everything from community security to costumes.

Being worried for the safety in the community is a common occurrence in poor communities in St. Louis and throughout the country. “From history, I think there’s an issue…so whenever you have an event that’s…an outside event, especially at night time…that just brings the police more out which just brings more attention, more anger. I don’t think it’s going to be that safe,” said Hannah Miles, junior. Many families end up having to go to the county or well off-communities to take their kids trick-or-treating. Jessica Kuenzle, English and 1818 Literature teacher, said: “Look, I know that it’s very stereotypical, but because it looks more run down and I know there’s a lot of homeless people hanging out…I think other people go to those places or areas to act like fools. Because everyone assumes that its a bad area, they think they can get away with more if they go to places that are already perceived to be bad.”

Some families and communities are coming up with alternatives to trick-or-treating that they feel is, or could be, safer. “Many parents look into alternative plans, such as doing things like an organized trunk-or-treat, which is what my children will be doing instead of trick-or-treating,” said Arnez Newton, 6th grade social studies teacher.

Another common safety concern is the harmfulness or harmlessness of candy received on halloween. Over the past decade, parents have been having to check candy to make sure that it hasn’t been tampered with. However, most people don’t know that the police station can help with that. “Take it down to the police station so they can check it for you,” said  Fred Bachman, resource officer. Bachman used to be a police officer in the seventies in the Grandel area.

Unchecked costumes can be dangerous on Halloween as well, especially when worn during school. “I think you should not put anything on your face, nothing to cover your vision because we have so many stairs. And loose costumes–somebody could step on them, and cause you to fall. And definitely no kind of carrying objects during school,” said Bachman.

A fast approaching halloween trend that’s been popularized through cosplay, social media, and youtube is colored contacts, which can be a really interesting and fun addition to a halloween costume if bought and chosen safely. “Right away you’re making yourself susceptible to infection. Any foreign objects that you put in your eye you’re at risk for infection,” said Karen Lynch, school nurse. Because of this, before you purchase colored contacts, you can ask an eye doctor or even double check the internet for the FDA approved colored contacts.

Awareness and knowledge are the keys to staying safe and secure this holiday season. Happy Halloween!