Dressing in costume far predates candy as a Halloween tradition. Thousands of years ago, Celts would wear costumes to try to ward off spirits during Samhain, their festival held on October 31. Even today, some families opt for healthier treats than candy, but most still allow their children to dress up as their favorite superhero or movie character.
Most parents know that candy in excess isn’t good for their children’s health, but they don’t realize that Halloween makeup and costumes can pose a more serious threat. What are the dangers associated with Halloween makeup and costumes, and how can families avoid them?
Halloween Makeup and Toxic Metals
Just last year, the Breast Cancer Fund conducted a study that analyzed 48 Halloween makeup kits marketed to children throughout the nation. Nearly half of all of the makeup kits tested positive for at least one kind of toxic heavy metal. Roughly 18 percent of the palettes tested positive for lead specifically.
How can such dangerous toxins be allowed in makeup marketed to children? The problem is that Halloween makeup is classified as a cosmetic, just like all other makeup the rest of the year. According to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t have to approve of cosmetics before they go to market. Only color additives have to be approved. Because of this law, many toxins in makeup aren’t found until after they’ve already hit the shelves.
Such was the case with the toxins found in Halloween makeup last year. The Breast Cancer Fund study found that the darker the pigment of Halloween makeup, the higher the level of lead.
Lead is particularly harmful to children, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and even a tiny level of exposure to lead is considered unsafe. For children, lead can adversely affect the development of the brain and nervous system.
So how can you avoid such dangerous Halloween makeup? First, research the brand you buy and make sure it hasn’t issued a recall of its products. Next, test makeup on your children beforehand. A few days before Halloween, paint some makeup on your child’s arm or back of their hand and watch out for any negative reactions. On the actual night of Halloween, make sure your children remove their makeup before going to bed. Keeping makeup on can cause skin or eye irritation.
It’s also a good idea to avoid unsafe makeup accessories such as decorative contact lenses. According to the FDA, decorate contact lenses require a prescription. Anyone selling decorative lenses as a cosmetic is breaking the law.
Decorative contact lenses need to fit the shape of your eyes as well. That’s why an optometrist needs to properly fit the lenses to your eye shape. If you buy a “one size fits all” pair of decorative lenses, you could risk scratches on your cornea, an infection, or even blindness.
Halloween Costumes: Choosing the Right Fit, Fabric, and Footwear
When it comes to Halloween costumes, you probably aren’t going to purchase one that carries any toxins. What’s important in a Halloween costume is fit and fabric.
Many families pass Halloween costumes from one child to another as a hand-me-down. However, make sure that the costume properly fits the child it’s been given to. An oversized costume can cause a child to trip and fall. This could cause an even more dangerous situation if the child falls into the road.
Next, you should consider the type of fabric your child’s costume is made from. Many houses use candles in jack-o’-lanterns or elsewhere to create a spooky atmosphere. Your child’s costume should be flame resistant in case an accident happens.
You should also choose fabric that’s brightly colored so your child can be seen in the dark. If your child’s costume is a dark color, consider putting reflective tape on their back or on their candy bag to keep them visible to motorists.
It’s also important to make sure your child is wearing the right shoes. If they’re wearing new shoes for their costume, have them break them in well in advance of Halloween night. If they’re wearing a type of shoe they’re not used to, like a heel, for example, make sure they practice walking in them for a few days before trick-or-treating.
Help from an Indiana Personal Injury Attorney
Whatever costumes your children choose to wear, we hope they have a safe, fun Halloween. If your children suffer an injury due to a toxic Halloween makeup kit or an unsafe Halloween costume, an Indiana personal injury attorney may be able to help. Call Hensley Legal Group today or contact us online for a free consultation.