Beware These Hidden Dangers of Halloween

Keep an eye on your little witches and goblins this Halloween.

— -- Halloween is filled with exciting make-believe fright. But what happens when that fantasy fear becomes a dangerous reality?

To keep your little ghosts and goblins safe this Halloween, here is a list of some spooky hidden dangers and what you can do to avoid them.

Glow Stick Poisoning

Whether worn for fashion or safety, glow sticks can be a fun addition to a festive costume. Unfortunately, children can break or bite into the sticks, giving parents a scare.

According to Donna Taylor, certified specialist in poison information at the Tennessee Poison Center, the content is more of an irritant than actually toxic.

“If kids lick or swallow some of the liquid, they might complain of a bad taste for about an hour. Try to give the child a sweet drink or Popsicle to help,” Taylor says.

She adds that any area of contact should be rinsed with soap and room temperature water for ten minutes. If irritation continues, or if there was contact with the eye, it is important to call poison control.

Taylor also states that parents “should not be alarmed if the mouth and skin glow for a while after contact.”

Contact Lenses

While a pair of colored contacts might sound like an exciting way to spice up a costume, experts warn that they might do much more harm than good.

Dr. Robert Glatter, emergency physician at New York's Lenox Hill Hospital, warns that “colored contacts purchased over the counter are not properly fitted, and certainly not sterilized, compounding the risk of infection, corneal scarring and vision loss.”

He adds that it is illegal to sell these contacts without a prescription.

“If you choose to wear a colored contact lens, make sure you see a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist,” Glatter says.

According to FDA.gov, retailers must verify your contact prescription with your healthcare provider. Not only should the clerks ask for the prescription, but they should ask for the name and phone number of your doctor as well.

Face Paint

Parents may want to think twice before painting cat whiskers or a witch green face on their children this Halloween.

The face paints manufactured overseas contain dangerous heavy metals, according to a press release by Sen. Chuck Schumer's office.

“Every Halloween we worry about the candy we’re putting in our kids’ mouths but nowadays, we need to worry about the face paint we’re putting on our kids’ faces," says the release.

And physicians agree. “Many face paints contain lead, which is not regulated by the FDA,” Glatter says. “This can lead to issues such as learning disabilities and even hematologic illness.”

While some parents may choose to continue using face paint this Halloween, they are urged to do so cautiously. The FDA provides a list of approved color additives on its site.

Hillary Lansman is an internal medicine resident physician at Valley Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas.