I have this friend I need to tell you about; let’s call her Susie. Susie is a HUGE fan of Halloween. It is her favorite holiday, if you can call it that, by far. Her house looks practically haunted when the clock strikes 12am on October 1st. Her decorations are a-ma-zing and her absolute dedication to reinventing spooky-but-fun is something to behold.
But Susie has a tale of woe. A few years ago, 2011 to be exact, when her twins were in preschool, they came home with a trick that was no treat. Susie’s girls brought home head lice, just in time for trying on costumes and the neighborhood Halloween party she hosted. But she didn’t know it. Cue the scary music.
Susie’s Halloween party was a spectacle, all the neighbors and all of their friends came from miles around to dunk for apples, sample witch’s brew, and participate in the parade of costumes. The number of Harry Potters, Smurfs, Barbies, and princesses was impressive. As you might have figured out by now, Susie’s party that year was a grand success . . . briefly.
Days later, upon detection of the twins’ (and, yes, her own) lice infestation, Susie did the unthinkable. Despite the certain stigma, she did the right thing. She informed every single family and party guest, as well as the girls’ preschool of the unfortunate news and recommended head checks for all. Her pride was more than bruised, and she definitely felt that some so-called friends and neighbors were not so friendly any more. It was official; Halloween 2011 was not one to remember.
Fortunately Susie didn’t let that dampen her spirit and love for Halloween. Fast forward to 2014, Susie’s Halloween party attendance returned to the normal throngs of fairies, pirates, lady bugs and zombies. Those that lived through the lice that year now realize that Susie and her kids were not to blame, especially since the resulting sensitivity and awareness of lice made them realize just how common it is. (Some kind souls even let her know that they appreciated her honesty and the intestinal fortitude it took to let them know.)
Unfortunately, lice are still going to happen to the nicest families we know. But thanks to the “Susies” out there, maybe it won’t be yours. Here are a few tips you and your children should to keep in mind this Halloween:
- Don’t share costumes and dress up clothes at school, especially masks, hats, wigs, and scarves.
- Avoid head to head contact and don’t share brushes, combs, hair accessories, or helmets with friends, classmates or teammates.
- Parents should do regular head checks on their children, keeping an eye out for both live bugs and the tiny eggs (nits) they lay on the hair shaft, close to the scalp.
- Use lice repellent daily. You can choose all-natural products (shampoo, conditioner and/or spray) so you don’t expose your family to harmful toxins.
I can only imagine what all the Halloween bashes will bring this month. Let’s hope it’s not lice.
And if you want to know what NOT to give out, read this!