Halloween is a little over a month away, which means it’s time to start shopping for costumes for the family! The average price of a store bought costume is around $30, so if you have more than one kid, this can add up quickly. Not to mention, all of the accessories, candy and decorations you have to splurge on.
If you’re looking to save money on a Halloween costume, buying one secondhand makes sense. Your kid is only going to wear the costume for a few hours anyway. But what about head lice - is this something you should be worried about? Although some people believe that head lice can be spread through secondhand items, this is almost never the case.
Why You Don’t Have to Worry about a Used Halloween CostumeHead lice can only survive for a day or two without a host. They don’t survive on furniture, surfaces, clothing, etc. for very long at all, which is why nearly 90 percent of head lice cases come from head-to-head contact. Since most people are digging out old Halloween costumes from the previous year, any lice that may have been on the costume will be long gone.
The same is true for Halloween accessories like wigs and masks. Even though these items have direct contact with your hair, lice are unlikely to live in them for any longer than a day. The only thing we caution against is trying on masks, wigs and costumes at a Halloween store. You never know who just tried them on before you!Bottom line: If your neighbor has offered you a Halloween costume, or you’ve decided to buy one secondhand, the chance of getting head lice from it is almost nonexistent.
Tips for Avoiding Head Lice During Halloween
Perhaps a friend or neighbor told you their horror story of how they got lice from a Halloween costume. Chances are, it wasn’t the costume that gave them lice but something else. Head lice are primarily spread through direct contact, as they can’t fly, hop or jump. They must crawl from one host to the other, which is why the following precautions are important:
- Isolate your costume. Do this for a day or two to ensure that any lice will die. This is even important for a brand new costume, as other people may have tried it on.
- Don’t share items. Let your child know that they shouldn’t share with others during school.
- Pull your child’s hair up and/or into a braid. Halloween festivities - parades, parties, selfies, trick-or-treating - often put children close together, raising the risk for head lice.
- Use a lice spray repellent. Before your child leaves for school, give them a few spritzes of a mint lice spray. Lice hate this smell and are more likely to stay away.
- Once a week, take a peek. Your child is in school, so head lice can be spread at any time. Check once a week to keep on top of potential lice infestations.