Halloween is spooky, creepy and downright scary – but not just because of the dressed-up ghoulies and goblins.
As the tender pagan holiday draws nearer, more and more organizations are sending out news releases, announcements and other forms of warnings outlining all the hazards that surround this formerly fun and festive day.
While many of the warnings are valid – like taking care not to carve through your tendons while you carve out your jack-o-lantern – they also reflect the extreme paranoia that has come to pervade the nation.
Let’s start with the pumpkins. As already mentioned, the American Academy of Orthopeedic Surgeons (AAOS) begs you to keep that carving knife away from your tendons.
And make sure you use a carving knife in a well-lit area, not some dull steak knife in the dark. And for goodness sake, never let your kid have a pumpkin and a knife, especially if his age range is 10 to 14.
After all, Halloween is in the top three when it comes to holidays that land people in the emergency room, with kids age 10 to 14 constituting 30 percent of those visits. For the record, the other two most hazardous holidays are July 4 and New Year’s Eve.
Cuts to the fingers and hands are Halloween’s most common injuries around the ER, followed by fractures to those same areas.
Once you’ve carved up your pumpkin and no one ends up bleeding to death, your next precautionary move is to forget about putting a real candle inside. That’s way too much of a fire hazard.
Instead opt for a battery operated candle, one that flickers if you prefer realistic, and one on a timer so it doesn’t accidentally overheat.
And don’t you dare place that pumpkin on the porch. That’s just asking for trouble – and unwanted visitors.
Hooligans will be encouraged to steal and smash your handiwork, potentially hitting you on the head or strewing a stream of slick pumpkin pulp on your stairwell, risky for a slip.
Area wildlife will also be apt to stop by, the Arizona Game and Fish Department warns, looking for a feast.
“Coyotes, javelina, deer and even bears eat some of the vegetables that are part of traditional holiday displays,” a news release quoted Tucson’s Game and Fish Regional Supervisor Raul Vega. “When displayed outdoors, they may attract wildlife to homes, potentially creating conflicts with people.”
And just think how your pets will react if a bear suddenly bumbles onto your porch.
We didn’t even yet get into the other Halloween horrors that await your pets, usually sent out in list form from animal organizations.
Keep your animals inside, especially if you have a black cat. There are always “several accounts” of satanic rituals increasing on this creepy eve, and you don’t need Miss Kitty becoming a sacrifice.
Your kids, too, need some extra precautions, fire and police departments usually warn. Pick outfits that are flame retardant, highly reflective in traffic and don’t drag on the ground to prevent trips and falls.
Pay special attention to any masks to make sure you children can properly see and, more importantly, breathe. And steer clear of any masks resembling Nixon as an added precaution for personal protection.
While we’ve covered much ground on Halloween hazards that go down, we still haven’t even touched upon how to counter bullies who will do anything to steal bite-size Snickers bars or those heinous folks who stick apples full of razors blades.
Perhaps it’s just easier to forgo Halloween altogether. That would cut out all these hazards – and give us plenty of time to get started on safeguarding ourselves from the dangers of Christmas.
Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and TucsonCitizen.com Ryngmaster who found out the hazards of Halloween when she tried wearing giant wings in an elevator. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at RynRules.com and Rynski.Etsy.com. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.