Unsanitary Halloween Traditions

On a rather chilly night, great festivities will soon begin. Jack-o-lanterns are lit, the candy bowl is full, the haunted-house music is playing, and Halloween spirit is swirling in the air. Giddy trick-or-treaters put on their costumes, smear make-up on their faces, grab pillowcases from their moms, and head out the door to load up on sweets. One trick-or-treater, dressed as Ron Weasley, hasn’t been feeling his best lately. Actually, he missed school earlier in the week because of flu-like symptoms. He has been feeling better recently, but his nose has been running a lot. The group of trick-or-treaters arrives at the first house. One kid rings the door bell, an annoyed teenager opens the door… “ Trick-or-Treat!” The boy realizes that he forgot his tissues back at home, so before reaching into the candy bowl, he wipes his snotty nose on his hand and puts his hand into the bowl. The last trick-or-treater grabs some candy and decides to eat it now. Not noticing that the chocolate bar that she has chosen to eat and her hand are covered with snot, the girl rips open the wrapper, and the candy is gone in an instant. I have few memories of having a “Happy Halloween”. One visual that sticks out in my mind was from second grade. I was standing in front of my closet looking at my “Pop-Star Diva” costume that my mom and I bought together. A feeling of sadness came over me because I wasn’t going to have the chance to wear it. I was too sick to go outside. In fact, I was sick most of the time when I was younger. Since then, I have adopted many good hygiene habits, practice them daily, and have gotten better at keeping myself healthy. Most importantly, I have avoided a number of unsanitary Halloween traditions. Trick-or-treating has come to a close, so same group of kids goes back to the house this story first began at. The moms have put together lots of activities for the trick-or-treaters to participate in, so they go out to the garage to begin the fun. The first station is bobbing for apples, and what a way to start out this party with dunking your face into a bucket of bacteria and viruses! According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water-borne diseases include MRSA, mononucleosis, and many others. It isn’t likely that these diseases can be transferred after only having the head in a bucket of water for a few seconds, but it could happen. The classic Halloween tradition of carving jack-o-lanterns is another activity in the garage and this is what these kids are most excited about. However, pumpkins have a history of being infected with Salmonella and E. Coli bacteria. Let’s hope that these pumpkins are carved using wand-power, not kid-power. The parents of three of the kids from this trick-or-treating group have something better to do than take care of their children on this night, so these three must walk home from the party. The first kid takes a route that leads him into a haunted forest, and while dodging branches, one hits him in the eye. A few weeks later, this kid ends up in the hospital because a parasite is living in his eye. The second kid walks through an open field. She suddenly trips over a rock, or at least that’s what she explained to her parents in her recovery room after a long series of shots to prevent the rabies virus from spreading through her body from a Werewolf bite. The last kid also walks through the same open field, and wakes up in a hospital bed after a blood transfusion due to a Vampire bite. The following morning, one kid wakes up and begins to scratch her head. She tells her mom that her head itches. Her mom then goes into “Mommy-on-a-Mission-Mode” to seek out what’s wrong with her daughter. She checks her head, thinking all it is is a dry scalp, but she finds a louse in her hair. Perhaps being sick a lot wasn’t bad after all. It seems like I didn’t miss much. Of course, I will carry out my healthy habits, but I’m considering participating in Halloween this year. Maybe I can go trick-or-treating for some left-over Ames High band candy.