Hey parents: What’s scarier than a group of zombies ringing your doorbell on Halloween night? The GERMS they’re carrying around with them! Halloween can be a germ-o-phobe’s nightmare:

You watch helplessly as your kids try on every single Halloween mask at the store – not knowing whether they’ve been coughed or sneezed on by someone else’s kid. And when your kids come home from trick-or-treating, you know Junior has spent the evening shoving his hands into candy baskets all over the neighborhood – the same baskets that dozens of other kids have also rummaged through.

But should parents really worry about all these Halloween germs? Not exactly. Dr. Michael Muszynski is dean of the Florida State University Medical School.  And he says a flu virus has an easier time sticking to a hard surface - like a doorknob or a table – and can linger there for up to 12 hours. So if it lands on something more porous, like a candy wrapper or a rubber Spider Man mask, it probably won't last more than a few hours. And trick-or-treating has a built-in safety feature: It’s outdoors. In other words, your kids aren’t trapped in a room with several other kids who are coughing and sneezing everywhere.

Put it this way: There’s never been a flu outbreak from Halloween.  But of course, this doesn’t mean you should ignore germs on Halloween. So parents, make sure your kids wash their hands after they’re done trick-or-treating. Also, teach your kids not to touch their faces – since your eyes, nose, and mouth are the 3 main entry points for germs.