The Obama administration Friday made a multiagency push to make sure everyone enjoys Halloween as safely and effectively as possible.
Government blogs often fill up with reams of holiday-themed advice, but Halloween in particular seems to put federal policy makers in the mood to make sure people are doing it correctly. While it's unclear if the Friday effort was coordinated by a Halloween czar, several federal agencies participated.
The Department of Transportation weighed in with a blog post to warn drivers that lots of kids will be out trick or treating tonight, and said adults should make sure not to drive drunk. It even warned parents against walking around in a drunken stupor as they guide children from house to house.
"Adults should know that walking when impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving, so designate a sober friend to walk you home," it said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has had its hands full with the Ebola crisis, found time to offer some perfunctory advice about staying healthy during Halloween. Among other things, the CDC advised people against becoming zombies, although it didn't clarify what personal protective gear one might wear to achieve this goal.
"Don't let your health get tricked this Halloween!" CDC advised. "Here are a few ways to stay safe and healthy. Get moving. Eat well. Keep your and your family's bite health. Play it safe. Scare away the flus and colds. Don't be a zombie."
The Department of Agriculture, which often lectures people about the importance of eating right, focused in on the walking around aspect of the holiday. USDA's silence on whether it's OK to eat candy might be seen as a permission slip to do so.
"Halloween is a great excuse to be active," USDA said via it's "MyPlate" email service. "Enjoy a spooky walk around your neighborhood, mall, or a haunted house!"
One agency, the Department of Energy, was already looking past the holiday and wondering how soon it would be possible to turn your used Halloween pumpkins into jet fuel.
According to the department, which seems to be obsessed with Halloween, seasonal pumpkins add 250 million tons to the municipal solid waste that the U.S. produces each year.
"At landfills, MSW decomposes and eventually turns into methane — a harmful greenhouse gas that plays a part in climate change, with more than 20 times the warming effect of carbon dioxide," the department said.
To stop those emissions, the department is developing and testing out biorefineries that turn pumpkin waste — which is the used pumpkins themselves and not something a pumpkin excretes — into "affordable biofuels, biopower and other products." It said some of these refineries are already up and running and waiting for your disposable plants and other items.
"It might not be long until the 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkins we produce annually are nearly as important to our energy security as they are to Halloween!" the department said.