Biologist: Halloween masks full of scary germs

LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- Kids love dressing up as scary monsters for Halloween, but ghoulish grins might not be the only scare they get from their rubber Halloween mask.

Shopping for Halloween costumes isn't easy, and oftentimes you have to try out several masks to find the perfect one. The problem with the rubber masks is that they can be scary on both the outside and the inside, depending on how many other people tried it on before you.

A recent test proved that bacteria was lurking inside many of the masks sold in stores.

"I was quite surprised at the number of bacteria and the diversity of the bacteria that you guys found on these different plates," said Dr. Stan Kikkert.

A biology professor, Kikkert said the main danger in the masks is the exposure to the bacteria that could lead to skin conditions, such as staph infection.

"One person after another after another wearing this probably adds to this and allows for the bacteria to actually cultivate, so that might be part of the reason why we see such robust results," Kikkert said.

Halloween shopper Tracey Morehead said he's not worried about germs in masks.

"No, because that's a brand new mask. I would never try on a mask that had been tried on before," he said.

If a mask is part of your Halloween costume, Kikert said wiping down the inside with rubbing alcohol should get rid of the germs.
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