The only thing more frightening than how much candy you're going to sneak this Halloween, is that lice may be lingering in kids' costumes and wigs.
Okay, take it from a mom whose three girls all had lice at the same time: these little bugs are no joke! It was two years ago, and I still have the heebie jeebies thinking about de-licing their hair, twice. And sanitizing every piece of bedding in our house, and the sofas, and the carpets. Not to mention obsessively checking my own head every other minute. To this day, I still wash my kids' hair far less often, since I've learned that clean hair is more at risk, and slather their heads with gel every morning before school.
That's why when I read that Halloween costumes are an easy way for kids to pick up lice, I was more scared than the time I saw a black cat on October 31. As pediatric Nurse Practitioner Cherie Sexton told news outlet WTOL, "We have a lot of people going into stores right now, trying on masks, trying on costumes and trying on wigs. And a lot of people don't give much thought into the fact that several people could've tried it on before them."
Anyone else flashing back to the time your child pulled on a Donald Trump mask at CVS, and you thought it was hilarious?
Now, raise your hand if you are rethinking your decision not to spend a ton of time creating a homemade costume.
RELATED: Do-It-Yourself Halloween Costumes
Okay, despite this icky threat, I probably still won't make my kids' costumes. So if you're like me and just weren't born with the crafty gene, here's what to do to prevent lice from ruining your Halloween:
First, put a purchased costume, wig or mask in a sealed plastic bag for 48 hours before wearing it, so the bugs bite the big one. Or, if it's dryer-safe, throw the costume in there on high heat for a full cycle. You can also put your child's hair in a swim or bathing cap before placing a wig on his or her hair to prevent an infestation.
Get more lice prevention and treatment tips—and don't forget to do a nightly check until your child is 35. Or maybe that's just my plan.
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Melissa Willets is a writer, mom and coffee devotee. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.