Happy Halloween! Here’s hoping for all treats and no tricks this year as the H1N1 virus rears its ugly head in every neighborhood around the country. But the little ghosts and goblins who come knocking on your door still want to have fun, so let’s let them enjoy their night of frights with a few tips to keep the spread of germs in check.

  • Stress the importance of not sharing candy or drinks with others.
  • Tell your kids to wash their hands often, and well—and you do the same between handing out treats.
  • Consider handing out non-food treats, like stickers or pencils.
  • Use a scoop instead of your hands to get the treats into the kids’ bags.

Once your trick-or-treaters have returned home, inspect their bags, and toss any candy with wet or torn wrappers. Then keep the rest of the treats in a clean bag, and don’t touch them for two days—which is plenty of time for lingering germs to die.

And if you’re still wracking your brain for the perfect last-minute costume, how about going as the one thing everyone fears most this Halloween—the swine flu! Search online for an image of what the virus looks like under a microscope. Then paint your face to match the image, add pig ears, a pig snout, and a curly pink tail. And happy haunting!