Least Delicious Halloween Treat: H1N1 Virus

As trick-or-treating time looms, we’d like to take this opportunity to remind you: BOO!!! SWINE FLU!

Yes, a parade of small children passing over your porch just might be an opportunity for germs to spread.

CBS News wants you to know that grubby little hands reaching into your candy bowl may not be such a great idea. Use a scoop. Or a ladle.

[G]erms can live for up to 48 hours on a surface and even longer if the surface is wet, so it’s important to avoid reaching into the bowl for candy. She said a great alternative is a scoop.

Also, discourage children (and, heck, adults) from sharing masks.

H1N1 & Halloween: How to Keep Kids Safe
[CBS News]

(Photo: chrisstreeter)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Kuchen says:

    I guess I don’t really understand this suggestion. The person giving out the candy is the only one touching the scoop, right? Or else the scoop handle would be the contaminated part instead of the actual bowl. How is that any different from the person giving out candy just dropping the candy in each bag instead of letting the kids reach into the bowl? Unless the person giving out candy already has H1N1. In which case, just turn off your light and keep the candy for yourself this year.

  2. MooseOfReason says:

    Many more people die from the regular flu.

    Wash your hands and have a good time.

    • RvLeshrac says:


      That’s relative. More people die from the regular flu primarily because they don’t consider it “serious.” Couple that with the fact that there are far more cases of normal flu strains than there are of H1N1.

      All in the percentages.

      Further, avoiding illness has less to do with “not dying” as it does “not felling like you’re dying.”

      • hi says:

        @RvLeshrac: You make absolutely no sense. More people die from the regular flu because they take it less serious than a more serious flu where the precautions (washing your hands, not touching your face, etc, etc…) are exactly the same. Please provide some kind of scientific fact and links to your source.

        For example: A real doctor saying that there is no evidence that anyone needs to get the vaccine, and even the people who are telling you to get the vaccine (the president) are not taking it or giving it to their kids:

        + Watch video


  3. locura79 says:

    I’ve always handed out candy instead of letting kids reach into the bowl. Otherwise you would run out of candy in half an hour.

  4. swedub says:

    Best pumpkin carving ever!!!

  5. Trai_Dep says:

    I read somewhere that your privy parts were cleaner (in a germ sense) than hands or mouth.
    …I’m trying to work this factiod into this topic without getting a Halloween visit from Chris Hanson. Unsuccessfully. So I’ll just stop here.

  6. wvFrugan says:

    I am disturbed at the apparent cheapness of my fellow posters. Holloween, of all holidays, should bring out the generosity in all of us…screw Thanksgiving, Christmas…

    As cheap a bastard as I am, I gave out only full size candy bars of the good stuff (Snickers, Twix, Milky Way) and encouraged the little brats to take 2! Last year I gave out the full size bags of the real gummi bears. If I run out, each kid gets a 2-dollar bill or one or two of those gold-toned dollar coins. I even enjoy the teenagers holding onto this last bit of glory with being a child and having the guts to trick-or-treat with no costume.

    • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

      @wvFrugan: I dunno man… if you’re gonna come and take my candy, you can at least have the decency to put on a costume. Even if it’s a pair of ill fitting pants and a kerchief on a stick thrown together as a last minute hobo costume.

      Work for it, people.

    • H3ion says:

      @wvFrugan: Where do you live and how late are you open?

  7. Rachacha says:

    We went out with our kids, unfortunately got a late start, but at 7:45 people were dumping 2-3 handfuls of candy in the bags saying “Here, it is almost the end of the night, and I still have a bunch of candy. You take it, I don’t want it.

    I am going to start late every year from now on, visit 10 houses and you are done. No more running around the neighborhood for 2 hours for me!

    Those houses that did not dole out 2-3 handfuls handed the bowl to the kids and let them pick what they wanted.

    I think that Halloween is a dying holiday. I remember when I was a kid, my parents would buy big 4 bags of candy and we would always run out in the first hour and a half. My dad would take us home after an hour, and mom would go through the candy, picking out things that I didn’t like and “recycle” them. Almost every house had their lights on and was giving out candy. These days, I have hit a jackpot when I find 3 houses on a street that have their lights on.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @Rachacha: Halloween has become a kid’s holiday. How terrible. Of course adults can think of much more gruesome and scary ways to freak people out a la Dan and Roseanne Conner.


      Missed the haunted houses again this year. :P

    • mythago says:

      @Rachacha: Oh pfft. People were bemoaning Halloween being a dying holiday when I was a kid, back when everyone REALLY BELIEVED that strangers routinely hid razor blades in candy. It’s one of those traditional things to grump about.

  8. antisan says:

    Someone at the party I was at showed up in a black jumpsuit with green splotches an an H1N1 nametag. It would have been funny if he hadn’t slimed up his hands with vaseline first. Ewwwww.

  9. katia802 says:

    We had about 10 kids total. Were giving them double handfuls of candy just to get rid of it. Sigh, remember when every house on the street was lit, and kids would be everywhere. Blaming swine flu this year, will try again next year

  10. downwithmonstercable says:

    @WiglyWorm must cease and decist: Thank you for being a voice of reason.

  11. so_gracefully says:

    @WiglyWorm must cease and decist: re: your last paragraph, that’s also what the CDC says essentially. :)

  12. Paladin656 says:

    @WiglyWorm must cease and decist:I also work in a hospital, but not in a direct patient care capacity. I ended up catching the swine flu, about a week after having my shot for it. In talking with the doctor, he says the swine flu is actually easier to catch than the regular flu and that’s part of the media frenzy with it.

    What’s interesting to me, if you go look it up H1N1 is a designator for the most common Influenza A subtype. That includes swine origin, and seasonal. See: [en.wikipedia.org]
    Some strains of H1N1 are endemic in humans and cause a […]large fraction of all seasonal influenza. H1N1 strains caused roughly half of all human flu infections in 2006.[1] Other strains of H1N1 are endemic in pigs (swine influenza) and in birds (avian influenza).

  13. LastVigilante says:

    @Sheogorath: How about barbeque tongs? You know, the really long ones. That way you can tweeze out a single piece of candy each and drop it into the kids’ baskets while keeping yourself at a safe distance.

  14. magic8ball says:

    @Sheogorath: Why is such a product not already available? I want a candy cannon!

  15. Snaptastic says:

    @Sheogorath: Back when I lived in semi-rural Mississippi, I only participated in one Halloween. My only visitors were a teen mother with her small herd of kids (maybe they were just cousins, but I’m doubtful). The kids all tried to take double or triple handfuls, then the mother asked for the bowl–so she could dump the entire thing in her own bag.

    The next 2 Halloweens I just turned off my lights. Mayube I’m just mean, but I didn’t feel the desire to give my candy to the teen mothers who still thought they should get more candy than their crotchfruit.

  16. DerangedRoleModel says:

    @Sheogorath: Shoot the brats with petrified Tootsie Rolls.

  17. humphrmi says:

    @Paladin656: I heard that a while back too – that this strain of flu is basically a subtype of regular old seasonal flu. Also, initial reports from Mexico were that it killed several people who were outside of the normal flu risk group – i.e. normal healthy middle aged adults. So everyone got worried that this bug was going to kill a large swath of the population. Then later it came out that, in fact, the “low risk group” members it killed in Mexico were actually in the high risk group due to other conditions.

    So bleh to it all. I’m taking normal precautions.

  18. floraposte says:

    @H3ion: Sure, but most gas-pump handles aren’t handled by the wee Petri dishes known as children. Candy in bowls is.

  19. H3ion says:

    @H3ion: Our candy is untouched by human hands, both before and after eating.

    Is this where I or someone else is supposed to post that they make all their candy at home?

  20. "I Like Potatoes" says:

    @Snaptastic: Yikes -I wonder how many people thought that my 17 year old daughter was taking her three year old son trick-or-treating today while, in actuality, he’s just her brother!

  21. yevarechecha says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: I have access to the vaccine as I am in a high-risk group (under age 24). However, I’m afraid of catching H1N1 from the sick people in the waiting room when I go to the campus clinic to get the shot. What a catch-22.

    We live in an apartment building that has requested that kids do not go trick-or-treating in the hallways. I got a small bag of candy in case some came anyway, but nobody’s showed up, so I guess I get to eat it all.

  22. kaceetheconsumer says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: None of us in this house have had access to the vaccine yet. My daughter’s pediatrician has been out for weeks and only got enough to do a small number of kids under the age of 2, and my daughter is 4.

    I have no spleen and therefore apparently qualify as high-risk and my doctor’s entire clinic has no idea how to get me on any kind of official list to get me a dose. I have to wait with everyone else, it seems.

    And Texas is so far behind demand that every time there’s a rumour that some place has it, that place gets swamped immediately.

    I’d love to be responsible, but I haven’t been given the choice to do so.

  23. mythago says:

    @magic8ball: How about a marshmallow bow?

  24. Shadowfire says:

    @H3ion: mmm… homemade razor apples…

  25. so_gracefully says:

    @H3ion: Eat it.

  26. Magspie says:

    @H3ion: Take it to work and let everyone else eat it?

  27. XTC46 says:

    @changed my name: I used to get that all the time growing up (Im 13 years older than my brother and when I dont shave, I look much older) and people would always ask if it was my kid…

  28. DaWezl says:

    @changed my name: Sadly, this didn’t work out for me. I’d bought different candies b/c every year it seemed like the entire neighborhood always chose the same mixed bags of chocolate. Then I got H1N1 and couldn’t hand it out. So now I’m stuck with a huge bowl of pixie stix and gummy eyeballs, and I can’t stand either of them!

  29. utensil42 says:

    @RvLeshrac: They may be at the clinic to get treatment, confirm it’s flu, etc. rather than to get the vaccine.

  30. mazzic1083 says:

    @Con Seannery: “Let’s sit down and have a talk, now you’re free to leave whenever”