For many years you have walked the streets of your neighborhood, wearing ghastly get-ups and monstrous masks. Have you ever wondered where the creepiest and coolest holiday of the year originated? Was it the creation of a horror film that sparked this spooky night of candy and costumes?
It turns out that Halloween started as a cheery and bright fall festival where taffy fresh from the puller was served and hayrides were given to the children in townships across America. It wasn’t until the late 19th century when Irish immigrants began immigrating to the US that Halloween became creepier. Ghosts, goblins, ghouls, and monsters were brought into the celebration from these new Americans. The Irish brought another very important aspect of Halloween to American shores; the Jack-O-Lantern. In Ireland, rutabagas, turnips, and potatoes were hollowed out and faces of creepy creatures were carved into the now unearthed vegetables. These enlightened veggies were then used as lanterns for terrifying Halloween celebrations!
As mentioned earlier, candy is a necessity for a perfectly spooky Halloween eve. Candy, although delectable and inviting (My favorite candy is Dots, by the way), can be a serious choking hazard for those tiny tots and young children. The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago is dedicated to educating our community about some of the dangers about tasty little treats. Sometimes, sticky and small candies like taffies and mini chocolate bars cause young kids to choke. Here are some tips from our resident candy expert Joe Gray on how to help your child if they are choking on candy:
· If you think your child is choking, ask someone to call 911 immediately and take three simple steps to assist; check, call, care.
Check to see if there is an obstruction or loss of breathing, if either are present ask someone to
· Call 911 and administer…
· Care If you find something lodged in the victim’s throat, use the Five and Five Method. Lean the person forward and give FIVE sharp back blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand. If the obstruction isn’t dislodged, stand behind the person and give FIVE quick, upward thrusts into the abdomen. Repeat back blows and abdominal thrusts as necessary.
Please heed the advice of Joe and make sure you know what to do in case of an emergency. More than 3,000 people die each year as a result of choking so make sure your little goblins and ghouls are snacking safely. We don’t want the spookiest part of your night to be seeing your little monster choking on chocolate. Also, take into consideration what your kids are eating. It’s ok to go through your kid’s candy bag! In fact, 90% of American adults admit to taking candy out of their kid’s Halloween collection. What you do with the candy is your choice, but if you’re going to eat it, make sure someone else knows what to do in case you run into some trouble with a chewy confection.
From all of us at the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, have a safe and spooky Halloween!
Written by Joe Gray, Senior Director, Health & Safety Services for the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago (and a costumed Red Cross mascot) is available for interview about the dangers of Halloween candy as a choking hazard as well as to demonstrate how to assist someone who is choking. Please contact Martha at 312-729-6204 if you’re interested in learning more.