10 ways to ensure that your Halloween is as safe as it is spooky

Published: Monday, October 10, 2016 @ 5:03 PM
Updated: Sunday, October 01, 2017 @ 2:08 PM

The stores are full of candy and the pumpkins are fat and orange – it’s Halloween season! Here are 10 tips to help you and your trick-or-treater reach maximum candy intake.

Keep costumes safe

To quote Edna Mole in The Incredibles, “No capes!” Capes, sashes and other low-swinging, easily untied costume pieces can increase the chance of tripping and falling. Costumes and accessories should be flame-resistant and kept away from candles.

Makeup over masks

While many of the comic-book superheroes wear masks, take a cue from their cinematic counterparts and go for makeup instead. Masks can make it hard to see. Choose FDA-approved makeup and test it on a small area first to avoid serious reactions. Make sure to take it off before going to bed.

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The priority is the accessory

While your trick-or-treater will do their best to bring home a double-fisted haul of treats, it’s much safer to have one hand free for protection and balance. If they have an accessory that’s an important part of the costume, make sure it’s easy to carry and doesn’t have any sharp points.

Don’t keep the ingredients to yourself

If you’re the parent at home handing out homemade treats, make sure you tell visitors what is in them. An allergic reaction and trip to the hospital is definitely not how a parent wants to end Halloween night.

Individually wrap your candy and include a note with your name and address. In the event that the candy ends up being contaminated, your candy can be easily separated from the others.

Check out your haul before digging in

To be on the safe side, make sure your trick-or-treaters eat only factory-wrapped treats, and only after you’ve checked them for tampering. Throw away unwrapped treats and homemade treats made by people you don’t know.

Drive carefully

Trick-or-treaters can range all over streets and roads in their search for the elusive candy trove. If you’re driving in a trick-or-treating area, reduce speed and watch for rampaging hordes of candy seekers.

Walk carefully

To help out those driving around during trick-or-treating time, put reflective tape on costumes, bags, strollers, wagons, wings, landspeeders, rocket boots and any other form of pedestrian-fueled transportation you might be using. Carry a flashlight to increase visibility and reduce the risk of tripping over curbs.

Don’t go it alone

While it might be tempting for a trick-or-treater to hoard all that candy for themselves – in their Gordon Gekko costume – young candy-hunters need adult supervision. Older kids can go out in groups in well-lit, known areas, but they should check in regularly and never go door-to-door by themselves. Make sure children know your cellphone number, their home telephone number and address in case you get separated.

Lights on

While a spooky, dark house might be the best fit for a Halloween theme on the block, chances are if there are people in there, they just want to be left alone. Make sure you only knock on doors of houses with lights on, and don’t let children enter a home unless you are with them.

Don’t feed treats to the pets

All forms of chocolate — especially baking or dark chocolate — can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning can include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rat, and seizures. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, a subsequent loss of coordination and seizures.

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Valentine's Day 2018: 6 ways to eat for free or cheap

Published: Monday, February 12, 2018 @ 8:18 AM

Valentine’s Day Deals 2018

From flowers to a gift to dinner out, Valentine's Day can be an expensive holiday.

>> White Castle will offer romantic Valentine’s Day package, reservations again

To help you save some money, these restaurants are offering some cheap or free Valentine's Day meals.

Hooters

If you're without a significant other this Valentine's Day – or even if you've found a new sweetie and want to score some free wings – participating Hooters locations will help you shred your ex. Shred online and print a coupon to take to the restaurant or bring in a photo of your former love and let Hooters shred it. In return, you can buy 10 boneless wings and get 10 free – and maybe a bit of catharsis. Learn more at www.hooters.com.

Fogo de Chão

If you make a reservation and dine at a participating Fogo's location anytime from Feb. 10 through Feb. 17, you'll be able to save on a return visit. You'll receive a complimentary churrasco dining card that you can use next time you're in the restaurant. (As is usually the case, "certain restrictions apply.") Learn more at http://fogodechao.com. 

Qdoba Mexican Eats

Take advantage of the restaurant's "Qdoba for a Kiss" promotion, and you'll be able to buy one entrée and get one free at participating restaurants on Feb. 14. Bring your significant other to kiss, smooch a photo of your favorite celebrity on your cellphone or even pucker up to a burrito – anything goes! 

On top of that sweet deal, from Feb. 6-28, if you share a kissing photo on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #QdobaForAKiss, Qdoba will donate $1 to No Kid HungryFor more information, visit www.qdoba.com.

Outback Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse offers a Valentine's Day meal for two at participating restaurants from Feb. 12-16. For a special price (which varies by location), a couple can share a Bloomin' Onion, choose two entrees (center cut sirloin, grilled salmon or Alice Springs chicken), two sides, two salads and cheesecake for dessert. Learn more at www.outback.com.

California Pizza Kitchen

Enjoy a "Sweet Deal for Two" at participating California Pizza Kitchen locations from Feb. 14 to 18, and you'll get an appetizer, two entrees and a dessert from their special menu for $35. Choose from among three appetizers, 10 entrees or four desserts. As a further incentive, if you tag your sweetie or best friend in California Pizza Kitchen's Facebook post with the hashtag #CPKgiveaway, you'll be entered to win a $100 gift card. Learn more at www.cpk.com.

Waffle House 

Waffle House probably isn't the restaurant you think of when you're picturing a candlelit dinner with cloth napkins and tablecloths, but that's just what they're doing on Valentine's Day. You can enjoy alcohol-free champagne as the lights are dimmed, and choose from breakfast favorites or special offerings like ribeye and eggs. Many locations are participating, so check for your location's phone number and contact person for reservationsLearn more at ww.wafflehouse.com.

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List ranks best U.S. cities to get married

Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2017 @ 5:16 PM
Updated: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 7:21 AM

A couple exchanges rings as they are wed during a group Valentine's day wedding at the National Croquet Center on February 14, 2014 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A couple exchanges rings as they are wed during a group Valentine's day wedding at the National Croquet Center on February 14, 2014 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Looking for a place to get married? A new study claims that there is a premiere wedding destination in our own backyard.

According to WalletHub, Orlando ranks as the top city for weddings in the United States, and Atlanta is right behind at third. The study looked at factors such as the average cost of a wedding, the number of wedding chapels, churches and bridal shops in an area and the area with the most attractions.

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WalletHub said its methodology involved comparing 15 U.S. cities in cost, activities and attractions and facilities and services.

Las Vegas lost its top spot in 2018, with Orlando now number one, and Sin City coming in at number 2.

Take a look at the rankings:

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Las Vegas
  3. Atlanta
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Miami
  6. San Diego
  7. San Francisco
  8. Chicago
  9. New York
  10. Portland, Oregon

Austin, Texas; Cincinnati, Ohio; Knoxville, Tennessee and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, made the list at 11th, 19th, 23rd and 28th, respectively.

Other cities on the list include Spokane, Washington, 54th; Pittsburgh 35th, Seattle 12th, Tulsa, Oklahoma, No. 46th, and Memphis, Tennessee, 51st.

The full list ranking 182 cities can be found at WalletHub.

Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this story.

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Valentine’s Day takes on special meaning for parents of hospitalized babies

Published: Monday, February 13, 2017 @ 10:31 AM
Updated: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 7:02 AM

NICU Babies Warming Hearts For Valentine’s Day

Hospitalized babies can pull at the heart strings of even the most courageous among us.

When babies are sick or born prematurely, the families of these children are under enormous emotional and, often, financial pressure.

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Some 380,000 babies, or one in every 10, are born prematurely, before 37 weeks of pregnancy, in the United States every year, the March of Dimes estimated. Most end up in the hospital in the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, the March of Dimes said.

In Kansas City, Missouri the March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program at Saint Luke’s Hospital is aware of the hardships parents face when their babies are hospitalized. That’s why they planned a special Valentine’s Day celebration in recent years.

Related: Valentine's Day: List ranks some of the nation's best places to celebrate

The staff and volunteers, calling it a “special celebration of love,” assembled tiny knit caps with hearts that each baby in their care will wear for a special Valentine’s Day photo shoot. They’re also making baby footprint valentines for the parents.

“Every day a child is in the NICU can be frightening and uncertain, but holidays are especially tough, as families miss the normal joys of celebrations at home,” March of Dimes NICU Family Support coordinator, Rebecca Keunen said in a press release.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  

The nonprofit developed the NICU Family Support program to help families while their babies are in the intensive care unit, but even when these babies leave the hospital, they often face serious health challenges. The March of Dimes said these children are at higher risks for lifelong disabilities, including breathing problems, cerebral palsy and intellectual delays.

The March of Dimes is a nonprofit organization that focuses on pregnancy, baby health and conducts research into premature births.
   

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Valentine’s Day: List ranks some of nation’s best places to spend the holiday

Published: Monday, February 06, 2017 @ 9:02 PM
Updated: Wednesday, February 07, 2018 @ 2:35 PM

The History Of Valentine’s Day

Some cities are better choices than others if you’ve got a special someone in your life this Valentine’s Day, according to one list.

Personal finance website WalletHub has a new ranking of  the top 10 best cities in the country’s 100 most-populated cities to spend Valentine’s Day.

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To come up with the list, analysts studied the cities across four factors: budget, activities, gift accessibility and weather forecast.

Scores for the key dimensions were then calculated based on 20 relevant metrics such as average movie ticket price, the price of a three-course meal for two, restaurants, jewelry stores and florists per capita, walkability and temperature variations.

Atlanta came in at No. 18 on the list and scored high in the activities and gift accessibility dimensions. Las Vegas topped Atlanta at No. 3.

Seattle came in eighth; Honolulu, Hawaii, ninth; Orlando, Florida, fourth; and San Diego came in second..

Cities in which you may not want to spend Valentine's Day, according to the site, are Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit, Newark, New Jersey; and Miami, Florida. They were all in the lower half of the 100-item list.

The best place in the nation to spend the holiday, according to WalletHub, is San Francisco, California. And the worst is Hialeah, Florida.

Here are the top 10 best places to spend Valentine’s Day in America, according to WalletHub:
  1. San Francisco, California
  2. San Diego, California
  3. Las Vegas, Nevada
  4. Orlando, Florida
  5. Chicago, Illinois
  6. New York City
  7. Portland, Oregon
  8. Seattle, Washington
  9. Honolulu, Hawaii
  10. Los Angeles, California
  11. For more on the study, visit WalletHub.
 

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