Halloween is just around the corner–pumpkins are sitting on patios, kids are trying to decide on a costume, and parents across the country are dreading the inevitable sugar highs that follow trick-or-treating.

As Halloween approaches, state and federal agencies are reminding parents that there are a number of simple steps they can take to ensure this holiday is fun and safe.

Here are some food safety tips for this ghostly holiday:

  • Give children a snack before trick-or-treating and urge them to refrain from eating candy while trick-or-treating until you have had a chance to inspect it.
  • Tell children not to accept homemade candy or treats, candy from strangers should be commercially wrapped.
  • Inspect treats for signs of spoilage, discoloration, holes or tears in wrappers and toss out anything that looks suspicious.
  • If juice or cider is served to children at Halloween parties, check the label to be sure it is pasteurized.
  • Do not eat raw cookie dough or cake batter when preparing Halloween treats.
  • Before bobbing for apples thoroughly wash the apples with cool running water.
  • Keep food chilled until ready to serve. Do not leave food meant to be kept cool at room temperature for more than two hours.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Commission, and the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension for Family and Consumer Sciences.