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How to Keep Your Kids' Halloween Costumes Clean and Lice-Free

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Halloween is all fun and games until your kid ends up with lice. Though this six-legged creature isn't the first creepy crawler that comes to mind during this spooky time of year, they can certainly make for some not-so-fun few weeks if your child happens to catch it. As a parent, you need to know how to keep your kid (and home) lice-free.

As soon as October rolls around, costume stores become a madhouse. We don't blame you for wanting to get in and get out as quickly as possible. But in the rush to get the shopping trip over with, it's easy to forget that dozens of people — some of whom may have lice — have tried on a mask or costume before your child. And according to Cherie Sexton, a pediatric nurse practitioner, this is a big reason for the spike in lice cases around this time of year.

How to Prevent Lice Eggs From Hatching on Halloween Costumes

Fortunately, there are a few precautions you can take to ensure your son or daughter avoids a case of head lice this year. Sexton recommends the following for parents who want to know how to clean for lice.

  1. Seal the costume in a bag for 24 to 48 hours. Any lice living on the costume wigs or clothing will die within that time period.
  2. Toss everything in the dryer for 45 minutes. If your costume is dryer-safe, the hot temperatures will kill anything that's hitched a ride home.
  3. Wear a wig cap or bathing cap to create a barrier between your scalp and the lice. Though this isn't the most fashionable look, you can hide it under the wig and no one will ever notice.

Lice can survive "for [at least] seven days so if your child has been to a Halloween costume party, or they've been to a sleepover and somebody called and said there was somebody with lice there, make sure you check your child for the next seven days," Sexton told WTOL.

The fall season should be about scary stories and lots of candy, not lice. Even if you try your best, your child can wind up becoming host to a family of these critters. But don't fret if your kiddo has lice, because clean-up should be relatively simple. Stop by your pharmacy and pick up a lice-removal kit ($19.77, Amazon). An over-the-counter shampoo, fine-tooth comb, and magnifying glass might be all you need to get rid of them. And if you have a sense of humor, you can even dress your kid up in a lice costume for Halloween. So even though they're a nuisance, they don't have to ruin your Halloween.

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