Costumes can impact eye health unless parents take action on Halloween. “Trick or treat!” Halloween is quickly approaching this season, meaning that the deadline to put the finishing touches on your family’s costumes is almost here. For many parents, what is likely the trickiest part of the holiday is yet to come, as they prepare to balance their children’s cravings for sugar with the healthy benefits of a balanced diet.

While dietary rules will be an important part of keeping Halloween healthy and safe, there are other things to consider as you protect your family’s health this holiday. Every year several hundred costume and mask related eye injuries are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. We want to ensure that as you finalize robes, dresses, and alike masks, that your family’s costumes don’t just meet general holiday safety tips - but that they also don’t endanger anyone’s eyes or vision. You can do this with the following tips, which are important to keep in mind for children, teenagers, and adults of all ages:

  1. Don’t wear costume pieces that block your vision. Not only is this a tripping hazard, but putting poorly fitted material close to your eyes increases the risk that something will hit or get caught in your eyes. Best to keep your family safe by avoiding vision-blocking, oversized costume pieces altogether; and make sure that any headpieces worn are secure seated on your and/or child’s head, so that no one’s vision is obstructed by a loose costume.
  2. Beware of sharp props. Many costumes come with props that, if mishandled, could jab someone in the eye and require medical attention. Avoiding pointed props altogether, or finding foam alternatives, is the safest way to go to avoid this danger.
  3. Use makeup wisely. Makeup can make a Halloween costume all the more impressive - and in some cases is safer than a mask - but it can also irritate the skin around our eyes. To ensure that no one irritates their eyes to the point of extreme discomfort, families should use hypoallergenic makeup that is less likely to irritate the skin around the eyes. Remember to remove it with cold cream instead of soap to further protect eyes and skin alike!
  4. Choose contacts with care. This is something that parents with teenagers should pay particular attention too, as cosmetic contact lense use is growing among young adults. Fancy, flashy contacts often add quite the edge to a costume - but as attractive as they may be, these lenses carry the same risks as their daytime counterparts. Improper care and use is particularly likely to lead to infections, irritation and swelling, pain, corneal scratches, and pink eye. And the risks only grow if someone uses illegal, non-prescription lenses! That’s why the same safety tips that apply to normal lenses apply to your costume lenses - and be sure that no one in your family ever shares lenses! A child’s friend may have great contacts from a past costume, but sharing lenses is not healthy by any means.

Vision care may not always be a priority on Halloween, but with so many potential eye health challenges on this holiday, it’s important to keep good vision care in mind as you dress up for All Hallows Eve. By following these safety tips, you can ensure that your family’s holiday is a treat - and not an unpleasant memory of a visit to a doctor.

Everett and Hurite will also be operating under normal business hours throughout the week of Oct. 31 - Nov. 4. If you or a family member do develop any unusual symptoms, you can check our website to see if they require immediate care, and we encourage anyone with questions to contact their doctor to ensure they receive the proper advice for their health needs.