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Important Safety Tips and Guidelines for Halloween


  • Published: 2016-10-25 (Revised/Updated 2018-04-30) : *Press Release: U.S. FDA : Contact: fda.gov
  • Synopsis: Guidelines from FDA, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a safe and happy Halloween.

Whether you're goblin or ghoul, vampire or witch, poor costume choices--including decorative contact lenses and flammable costumes--and face paint allergies can haunt you long after Halloween if they cause injury.

Enjoy a safe and happy Halloween by following the "lucky 13" guidelines from FDA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Safe Treats

Eating sweet treats is also a big part of the fun on Halloween. If you're trick-or-treating, health and safety experts say you should remember these tips:

For partygoers and party throwers, FDA recommends the following tips for two seasonal favorites:

Eye Safety

FDA joins eye care professionals - including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists and the American Optometric Association - in discouraging consumers from using illegal decorative (colored) contact lenses. These are contact lenses that have not been approved by FDA for safety and effectiveness. Consumers should only use brand name contact lenses from well-known contact lens companies.

If you have never worn contact lenses before, Halloween should not be the first time you wear them. Experts warn that buying any kind of contact lenses--which are medical devices and regulated as such--without an examination and a prescription from an eye care professional can cause serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss. Despite the fact that it's illegal to sell decorative contact lenses without a valid prescription, FDA says the lenses are sold on the Internet and in retail shops and salons--particularly around Halloween.

The decorative lenses make the wearer's eyes appear to glow in the dark, create the illusion of vertical "cat eyes," or change the wearer's eye color.

"Although unauthorized use of decorative contact lenses is a concern year-round, Halloween is the time when people may be inclined to use them, perhaps as costume accessories," says FDA eye expert Bernard Lepri, O.D., M.S., M.Ed.. "What troubles us is when they are bought and used without a valid prescription, without the involvement of a qualified eye care professional, or without appropriate follow-up care. This can lead to significant risks of eye injuries, including blindness."

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