Lice in Halloween costumes: Should you be scared?

Posted at 5:45 PM, Oct 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-25 17:45:13-04

The CDC estimates about 6 to 12 million kids get lice infestations each year. 

Head lice cases often rise around Halloween because it’s hard to resist trying on those fun hats, wigs and masks when costume shopping at stores.   

You don’t think that many of these items have already been tested out by others. And this makes it easy for the lice to move from one head of hair to another.  

Lice feed on blood from people’s scalps. They’re tiny parasitic insects and can live about 24 hours without blood. 

So, if your child has tried on costume headpieces, you may want to check their scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes. Especially if they have any itching, tickling or visible sores on their head. 

Lice are fast moving and avoid light so may be hard to spot. You can also look for nits or lice eggs that are attached to hair shafts.  

There are a few steps you can take to prevent getting lice so here are my prescriptions: 

Partha’s RX:

1. Don’t try on wigs or other headpieces when shopping. But if you really need to make sure an item fits, wear a shower cap to help lower your risk. 

2. You can kill off lice by sealing costumes in a plastic bag. They’ll die from suffocation in about 24 to 48 hours. 

3. If your costume is dryer friendly, try killing lice in the dyer. Set it for 30 minutes on high heat.

4. Tell your kids not to try on other children’s headgear. You just never know who may have an active case of head lice.