FIRE SAFETY BEGINS AT HOME
Dia de los Muertos Despite the common misconception, Dia de los Muertos is not an offshoot of Halloween. While the two holidays often happen simultaneously, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday that originated with the indigenous people of Central America, including the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. Each year, they gathered and gave offerings to their dead. When the Spaniards came to Mexico, they fused the indigenous celebrations with their traditions of All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2). ANCIENT BEGINNINGS Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations viewed death as a beginning rather than an end. This was likely tied to agricultural practices and the seasons, with crops dying in the winter and being reborn in the spring. Dia de los Muertos evolved from those roots and is now observed throughout Mexico and the United States. It’s a time of remembering your loved ones by celebrating their lives. FULL OF LIFE Though the name might lead you to believe differently, Dia de los Muertos is a joyous time. If you visit Mexico during the holiday, the air is filled with music, and the streets are full of dancing and color. Instead of a sorrowful mourning of the dead, it is a vibrant, joyous celebration of life. Intricate altar displays, called ofrendas, honor the spirits of relatives who’ve passed. Families fill them with photographs and the relatives’ favorite food and drinks. It’s believed that during Dia de los Muertos, the boundary between the living and the dead is lifted, and for one night only, spirits come back to visit and enjoy what their families have set out for them. Today, the multiday celebration takes place throughout Central and North America. As tiny Batmans and Skywalkers add the final adjustments to their costumes, other families clean their homes and prepare to honor the spirits of their loved ones. And in today's beautiful blend of cultures, many families celebrate both holidays. A Celebration of Life
What You Can Do to Protect Your Home and Family
This year, National Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 6–12, and it’s dedicated to bringing attention to fire safety and prevention. Most of us know the fire safety techniques they taught in school: stop, drop, and roll. But there is so much more to fire safety when it comes to protecting ourselves, our families, and our homes. The single most basic piece of advice is to have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Too many people forget to check and replace the batteries (which should be done, at minimum, every six months). But going beyond that, you should consider how many detectors you need. The larger your home, the more you need. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there should be a fire detector in every bedroom of the home, and one should be placed directly outside of each general sleeping area, such as a hallway leading to the bedrooms. In multilevel homes, there should be detectors on each level, including the basement, and at the bottom of every staircase leading to the next level up. Detectors also need to be placed about 10 feet from the kitchen or cooking area — but not right in the kitchen where smoke might be a regular occurrence. Another detector should be placed near any heating or air conditioning unit in case the unit malfunctions. Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are just as important. Any home with a gas line, oil or gas furnace, gas stove/range, gas water heater, generators, space heaters, fireplaces, or garaged motor vehicles is at risk for CO exposure. Many people are poisoned by CO gas because they forgot to turn off a gas appliance, and the consequences for that negligence include illness, brain damage, and even death. Worse, CO is completely odorless and colorless. It can be hard to detect on your own before it’s too late. This is why every home needs a CO detector. Next to smoke and CO detectors, the next best thing you can do is have a plan. Sometimes fires cannot be prevented, like natural disasters or just an accident that’s out of your control. In the event of a fire in the home or even your place of work, know exactly where the fire extinguisher is and how to exit the building and where to go. Whether it’s a bedroom window or the backdoor, have a plan ready to go should you need to get out. Discuss the plan with your family so everyone knows what to do.
Safety Isn’t Spooky! 3 TIPS FOR A SAFE HALLOWEEN NIGHT
Halloween is always a good time for kids and grown-ups alike. Kids have a blast going around nearby neighborhoods and scaring up treats while the adults tag along to collect their candy tax — or they stay home and hand out candy while taking in all the trendy costumes this year. You really never know who will knock next. Will it be Spider-Man or Captain Marvel? Of course, as parents know, sending kids out trick-or-treating comes with risks. Thankfully, there aren’t many major risks, but as kids focus on stuffing their pillowcase full of M&M's and Skittles, they can easily miss what’s going on around them — are they looking both ways before crossing the Do you and your kids have a plan? If you have any ghouls heading out without your supervision (and Texas-Sized Laughs! street? Here are a few more questions to keep in mind this Oct. 31.
hopefully there is some supervision!), help them pick out neighborhoods they
MONTSERRAT O S WA L D can visit. You want to keep it close by for younger kids, but give older kids a little more freedom. Google Maps is a great way to know exactly where your kids will be, so in the event you need to swing in for emergency assistance, you know where to go and the kids know where to meet up. Do your kids know to stay in the light? On Halloween, some houses and areas are off- limits. Generally, if a house is dark, it’s a no-go. Remind kids to only visit homes where the front lights are on. At the same time, stay away from poorly lit or dark areas. As the sun sets, it can become hard to see where you’re walking, and in costume, kids can easily injure themselves. Anyone in a complicated costume or mask with poor visibility should stay out of dark areas altogether, and they should always have a buddy. Do you throw away treats you don’t trust? There is a myth that some unsavory individuals hide razor blades in Halloween candy. This is not true. Practically all Halloween candy is safe. However, if your kids or grandkids collect any homemade or unwrapped treats, take caution and throw them away. Some people love to make treats to hand out for Halloween, which is admirable, but these treats pose risks for those with food allergies as you cannot verify the ingredients. They may also spread foodborne illness if not properly prepared. Better safe than sorry!
LEFTOVER CANDY SNACK MIX Inspired by Food & Wine Magazine
This recipe from Momofuku Milk Bar chef and “Master Chef” judge Christina Tosi makes great use of those extra Halloween goodies. It’s a quick and easy way to both elevate and get rid of unwanted leftovers.
2 cups mini pretzels, coarsely broken 1/4 cup light brown sugar 2 tbsp granulated sugar 1/3 cup dry milk powder
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted 12 oz mini candy bars, such as Snickers, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
• • •
1. Heat oven to 275 F. 2. In a large mixing bowl, fold together pretzels, sugars, milk powder, and butter. 3. Spread mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes. 4. Let cool for at least 30 minutes and mix in candy bar pieces before serving.
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INSIDE Meet Kelly Bozeman! 1 The Meaning of Dia de los Muertos Fire Safety Begins at Home 2 3 Tips for a Fun and Safe Halloween Night Leftover Candy Snack Mix 3 Educating Your Kids About Cancer 4
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As pink-clad products line store shelves this October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, children are bound to be curious. Since they rationalize the world around them with what they already know, kids may ask silly questions like, “Is cancer contagious?” Whether you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer or you just feel it’s time to educate your children about the disease, answering questions can be difficult. These tips can help you prepare. Always Tell the Truth Telling a child that you or a loved one has cancer can be complicated. To start, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends giving yourself time after hearing the news of a cancer diagnosis to process this new reality. Two-parent households should tell their children together, while single parents are encouraged to ask an adult with a positive influence on the child’s life to join the conversation. Remember, your child will be experiencing the same emotions as you but in a kid’s body, where hormones and developmental changes are already wreaking havoc. Monitor their emotions and offer them space and opportunities to discuss their feelings with a professional. A Difficult Discussion Talking to Your Kids About Cancer
When it comes to explaining the disease and its consequences, younger children may require fewer details and broader concepts, while older kids may need more comprehensive answers to their questions. A 5-year-old is going to have different concerns than a 16-year-old, so your approach must be different. However, regardless of your child’s age, always tell the truth. Focus on Prevention Education A loved one doesn’t have to be diagnosed with cancer for you to educate your family about the disease and its prevention. Studies have linked prevention efforts, including anti-smoking campaigns and healthy lifestyle programs, to actually preventing cancer. (In fact, half of all cancers can be prevented!) Teach your child about the dangers of tobacco, alcohol, and excessive sun exposure to foster healthy habits and lifestyles. Organizations that host walks, benefits, and other events for cancer prevention and research can be great sources of education for families, too.
The ACS has resources for families living with cancer or those wanting to learn more. Visit Cancer.org for more information.
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