Tips and tricks for a safe Halloween

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Leaves are falling, temperatures are dropping and pumpkin spice drinks are back — the official sign that fall is in the air. With Halloween just around the corner, it's time to dig out the carving kit and head to your favorite pumpkin patch. But, did you know that each year, hospitals treat up to five times more hand injuries than usual as a result of carving in October?

Keep these tips from MedExpress in mind when gathering around the pumpkins this year:

• Don't use kitchen knives. Believe it or not, pumpkin carving kits are much safer. The tools are smaller, easier to control and aren't nearly as sharp as kitchen knives.

• Dry, lit work areas. Once your pumpkin is washed, ensure that your work area, including the pumpkin, table and tools, are dry. This will minimize slips and accidental lacerations and puncture wounds.

• Think of alternatives. When thinking of decorating for Halloween, try other family-friendly ideas, such as drawing, painting or dressing up a pumpkin.

• Know when to seek medical attention. If you accidentally cut yourself, seek medical help if the cut is deep, near a joint, or the wound won't stop bleeding after applying pressure for 10-15 minutes.

Now that you've finished your pumpkin, it's time to show it off. The Historic Depot in Red Wing will again be hosting the Pumpkin Lighting Ceremony Oct. 24-30. This year, though, is master carver Bill Habedank's last year organizing the event.

"My body is telling me I can't do 100 pumpkins in one week," Habedank said. "I have to slow down but I hate to see the show end, I was just hoping that somebody would want to take over and I'll assist to some extent."

Habedank will be supplying around 85 pumpkins for this year's event, with plenty more coming from his volunteers.

"I couldn't do all this work without the volunteers, I really appreciate their dedication over the years to keep helping with this effort," he said.

Admission is free and donations are always appreciated for the Red Wing Area Food Shelf, either money or nonperishable food items. If you're still in need of a pumpkin, stop by Habedank's garden at 1913 Grandview Ave. Set up dates at the Historic Depot are scheduled for Sunday and Monday, Oct. 22-23.

For more information or to volunteer to help with the event, contact Habedank at 651-764-1866.