Keep Halloween Safe, Not Scary
Halloween has never been a favorite holiday of mine. Somewhere along the way, people have made a fun, carefree holiday into a scary, dark, sinister, and sometimes dangerous holiday.
Halloween is spooky enough without foodborne bacteria crashing the party, but there are some steps we can take to keep the scary out of Halloween treats. The Partnership for Food Safe Education provides the following tips:
1) Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats unless you know the cook well.
2) When whipping up Halloween treats, don't taste dough and batters that contain uncooked eggs.
3) Scare BAC! Keep bacteria away by keeping all perishable foods chilled until serving time. These include finger sandwiches, cheese platters, cut fruit or tossed salads, cold pasta dishes with meat, poultry, or seafood, and cream pies or cakes with whipped-cream and cream-cheese frostings. Cold temperatures help keep most frightful bacteria from multiplying.
4) To keep store-bought party trays cold, fill lids with ice and place trays on top. Similarly, keep salads and other perishable items in bowls cold by nesting them in larger bowls of ice.
5) Arrange food on several small platters. Refrigerate platters of food until it is time to serve, and rotate food platters within two hours.
6) Bacteria will creep up on you if you let foods sit out for too long. don't leave perishable goodies out for more than two hours at room temperature. Remember the temperature danger zone - 40º to 140º.
7) Beware of spooky cider! Unpasteurized juice or cider can contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella. To stay safe, always served pasteurized products at your parties.
8) Remind kids (and adults, too!) to wash their hands before and after chowing down to help prevent foodborne illness.
Bobbing for Apples?
Try a new spin on bobbing for apples. Cut out lots of apples from red construction paper. Write activities for kids to do on each apple, such as "Do 5 jumping jacks", or "say ABC's", or "touch your shoulders, knees, and toes". Place a paper clip on each apple and put them in a large basket. Tie a magnet to a string or create a fishing pole with a dowel rod, magnet and yarn. Let the children take turns "bobbing" with their magnet and doing the activity written on their apple. Give children a fresh apple for participating in your food safe version of bobbing for apples.
Trick or Treating?
Take your children to a safe community event. First Baptist Church and several other churches in and around Sulphur Springs provide a safe Halloween alternative to door-to-door trick-or-treating. These community events provide a safe, clean, wholesome environment where your child can take part in gathering candy, playing games, and enjoying music with friends. Check your local paper for locations.
Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success - Henry Ford
Johanna Hicks, B.S., M.Ed.
Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Agent
1200-B W. Houston
P.O. Box 518
Sulphur Springs, TX 75483
903-885-3443 - phone
903-439-4909 - fax