Published on October 20, 2019
When someone warns you of the monsters lurking about on Halloween, you’re not likely to think of lice at first. And yet, there’s no denying the increase in lice outbreaks among kids during the holiday.
A common misconception is that lice live in Halloween costumes. After all, in most cases, these costumes are rented or sold only during October. For the remainder of the year, they lie abandoned in storage closets or are pushed toward a corner of the store they’re displayed in. Seems like the perfect place for lice to breed and live in, right?
Wrong! Contrary to popular belief, lice do not live on dusty old costumes or in murky storage closets. In fact, they cannot survive without human blood for longer than 48 hours! This means that lice aren’t waiting for you in costume stores when you return a year later.
While the costumes themselves aren’t a host for lice, the many customers who visit the store and try those costumes on very much are. During Halloween season, you’ll find costume stores filled with kids rummaging about, trying to find the perfect outfit for the holiday. They’ll try on different masks, wigs, capes, hats, and other available props. If someone happens to be infested with these critters, it’s highly likely that they’ll crawl onto the costumes.
While lice can’t survive without human blood for longer than two days, it may very well thrive on plush toys/props, masks, and wigs for this duration. When another kid tries on the same costume, the lice can be transferred to them, starting a chain of lice outbreaks.
The risk of a lice infestation can last from 3–4 days near Halloween to up to a few weeks. Your child may be at risk of getting head lice if they’ve been to multiple costume stores (or even one!), a Halloween party, or even a sleepover recently. Kids like swapping their things and trying out their friends’ costumes, and it’s extremely probable that this causes lice to move from one child’s costume to another.
Don’t’ worry! Your kid doesn’t have to miss out on the holiday festivities because of the chances of there being a lice outbreak. With these prevention tactics, you can ensure that your child has fun trick-or-treating with their friends while keeping the critters away.
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