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Dear Supporter,

Ghost and goblin Halloween costumes should be scary, but toxic chemicals in costumes is too scary. 

But have no fear, LDA of Maine is here to help and we have gathered some tips for a fun, safe, toxic-free holiday for all our ghosts, goblins, witches, princesses, and super heroes.

Avoid Toxic Face Paint
:  Some children's face paint and makeup contains heavy metals like lead and cadmium. For a guide on the best and worst makeup and face paint check out HealthyStuff.Org. Have a little time? Make your own face paint, it's fun! Check out some great recipes at TheSmartMama.com. Or use a small mask that does not impair vision.

Be Careful with Glow Sticks and Glow in the Dark Jewelry:  
Glow sticks and glow jewelry may contain dibutyl phthalate which is a chemical that disrupts the hormone system. Exposure to a leaking or broken glow stick is usually a case of skin or eye irritation and possible nausea after ingestion but long-term we do not want our children exposed to these chemicals.

Avoid Costumes and Masks made of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
:  A lot of kids masks and Halloween costumes are made of PVC which is one of the most toxic plastics made. They contain phthalates which are hormone-disrupting chemicals. Look for PVC-free masks and costumes or make your own. 

Please see below for a full list of Halloween safety tips.

Toxic chemicals have no place in our Halloween costumes, or in our homes.  Please join LDA-ME and tell Congress it's time to protect Maine families from toxic chemicals lurking in everyday products by signing our petition today, and we will hand-deliver your message to Congress on October 29th, just a few days before Halloween.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has some wonderful tips for a safe and fun Halloween. These tips are listed below for your convenience.

All Dressed Up:

•    Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.

•    Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags for greater visibility.  

•    Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.  Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. 

•    If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child's costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.  

Carving a Niche:  

•    Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers.  Then parents can do the cutting. 

•    Consider using a flashlight  instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.   Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.  

Home Safe Home:  

•    To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.  

•    Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs. Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.  Restrain pets to protect visitors and keep animals safe.

On the Trick-Or-Treat Trail: 

•    A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.  Carry a cell phone and have a flashlight for children and escorts.

•    If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home. 

•    Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.

•    Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.  If no sidewalk is available walk to the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.  Never cut across yards or use alleys. 

•    Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways. 

•    Don't assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will!  

Healthy Halloween:

•    A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.  Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween.

•    Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.

•    Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items. 

Please don't forget to show your support for safer products by signing our petition, then share with your friends.

On Facebook? Don't forget to like our page so you can get more tips on safer products and other helpful resources.

Happy trick-or-treating!

Tracy Gregoire
Learning Disabilities Association of Maine

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