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6 Important Halloween Safety Tips for Parents and Kids

by rayovac17, October 2016

Halloween is the best holiday as a kid. Alright, maybe—just maybe—yuletide celebrations outdo dressing up as someone else and getting a tooth-rotting pile of candy. But that’s just because those holidays come with presents. Halloween lets us explore our imaginations, our fears and our sweet tooth. Despite how much fun Halloween can be, it also has the potential to be hazardous. It’s celebrating monsters and the underworld after all! So here are a few tips to keep your family safe during this frightful adventure.

Costume Advice

Make costumes with bright, vibrant colors

Brainstorming Halloween costume ideas is the best. It is fun listing out the monsters, demons and ghouls, and then figuring out the necessary supplies, time, dedication and crafting abilities (or lack thereof). But there is one common theme among the classic Halloween costumes: using black and other dark colors. The dark colors in kids’ costumes can make them difficult to see at night. On moonless trick-or-treat outings the kids are practically camouflaged by creepy shadows, which can give you quite the fright when they vanish before your eyes and even more of a scare when the oncoming cars can’t see them either. To keep your kids (and your heart) safe, be sure to incorporate some type of bright and reflective color into their costumes. Maybe your vampire needs a bright red scarf, and reflective red stripes on their cloak? Perhaps your tiny, cackling witch clutching at your hand should have a hat and cloak adorned with bright orange glow-in-the-dark patterns? Whatever your solution might involve, ensure it is bright and reflective. If your child doesn’t have a costume accessory that is easily modified with some reflective tape, then consider adding some reflective tape to their trick-or-treat bags, giving them a glow in the dark necklace, or a handy flashlight with long-lasting batteries instead.

Like normal clothes, costumes should fit well

Sometimes we create the coolest costume idea, but the clothes we find to pull it off are too big. Perhaps the cloak is too loose, and your child can slip out of their shoes without even trying. This can easily become a dangerous situation if your child gets caught on a fence, entangled, or trips. Make sure they are comfortable!

Being able to see is important

Let’s face it, masks are pretty cool. Your kids can literally turn into anything with a mask. But masks are also hot, itchy and limit visibility. If you’re trick-or-treating in an area that has heavy traffic or other hard to see dangers, then consider designing their costume with non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. As with any type of makeup, it should be tested on a small patch of skin to check for allergic reactions and color.

Frankenstein says it best,” Fire, bad.”

Fire is a cornerstone decoration in Halloween. When you’re shopping for costume supplies, especially store-bought costumes, wigs and accessories, double check that the materials are adorned clearly with a label saying they are flame resistant. When you are decorating your own home for Halloween switch out traditional candles for battery powered ones or even a small flashlight to light your pumpkins and luminaries. Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.

Trick-or-treat advice

A light in the darkness

We go trick-or-treating in the dark for a reason: it’s spookier that way! But, it’s harder to see the potential dangers lurking around every corner. But those dangers can actually exist outside of our minds, too. It’s really important to have a light source, and a strong one at that. (No, your phone doesn’t count.) We advise you carry a heavy-duty flashlight or wear a headlamp. You can get smaller flashlights, too, for your kids to explore what candy they get. Don’t forget to equip the lights with a fresh set of batteries.

A monster at your side

Halloween can—and in some cases should—be scary. But sometimes kids can get too scared. Some children handle being scared well and others panic and begin to run away. Stay at your kid’s side during the entire evening; don’t let them go wandering too far lest they disappear or get nervous and lose sight of you. Also designate what houses are okay for them to visit. The rule of thumb is to visit homes with the porch light on. This is particularly important for older kids who are off trick-or-treating by themselves. Review where your older children are going to go during their Halloween escapades, and then give them a curfew of when you expect them to be home. In case your kids do go out alone or they sneakily slip out of your sight, consider getting them a portable safety alarm, like the Rayovac Power Protect. The device is a small phone charger that doubles as an emergency alarm by pulling a pin. We hope you and your family have a fun, safe Halloween! The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Safe Kids provided recommendations for this story.

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17 Awesome Family Activities You Should Do This Fall

by rayovac29, September 2016

Fall is finally upon us, and now we can start fully enjoying all of the wonderful activities autumn offers. If you’re looking for some fun family events and ideas to do this fall, then our list below will help!

Outdoor Fall Activities for Families


Early fall is the best time for camping. The leaves change colors, different animals migrate to the area and it’s the perfect temperature for campfires. Nothing tastes better than campfire-roasted fall foods. Sweet potatoes, corn and even s'mores!  Make sure you have a portable lantern and a powerful flashlight for night hikes and curling up in your sleeping bag with a good book. Rayovac’s friend, Tim, has more advice to make your family’s camping adventures fantastic.


Hands down, trick-or-treating is the best event in October. Halloween is so much fun, and getting to dress up as somebody (or something) else for a day can be a blast. Designing and creating costumes, and then slipping into the cool evening air and exploring the neighborhood among the other goblins and ghouls is equally spooky and delightful. Plus there is the month-long supply of candy, too. Be sure to visit the blog again in October for Rayovac’s Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips.

Scenic Hikes to Watch the Leaves Change

If you live in an area that experiences autumn colors, then going for a hike can be one of the most breathtaking weekend excursions. Hiking in the fall serves as excellent exercise, and doing a summer hike in the fall can look completely different with foliage changes.

Bird Watching & Wildlife Spotting

Fall signifies the season when many animals are out and about, whether they’re migrating or simply enjoying the cooler weather. Depending on where you live, a quick jaunt into the woods, mountains or fields with a good pair of binoculars can let you spot plenty of animals you couldn’t see during any other time of the year.

Pumpkin Patches and Corn Mazes

Is there anything more quintessentially fall than pumpkins and corn mazes? If your family hasn’t visited a farm to track down the perfect pumpkin (to carve or cook) or get lost in towering stalks of corn, then this is a activity is a must!

Outdoor Science Experiments

Science can get messy, and that’s why doing science experiments outside works so well. The ground soaks up any spills, and running these experiments outside helps connect you and your kids to the natural world they’re exploring. Science-Sparks has a fun list of 20 outdoor experiments for kids. And here are two of our favorite experiments: building a tomato battery and making a homemade flashlight.  

Go to a Haunted House

Another one of the best things about the Halloween season, barely edged by scary movies, are haunted houses. If your kids are old enough, then taking them to a haunted house can be one of the best experiences they’ll have all Halloween. The whole family will scream, cry and laugh, scrunch your noses and yell ewww, and feel relieved to escape the horrors.

Indoor Fall Activities for Families

Mason Jar Hot Cocoa

Nothing says fall more than a delicious cup of cocoa with friends and family. Have the kids join in on the fun by creating mason jars full of hot cocoa ingredients to hand out or to keep at home. Get super fancy and top off the powders with mini marshmallows and cocoa shavings.

Paper Bag Jack O’Lanterns

Want to decorate the house for Halloween, entertain the kids and stay on budget? These paper bag jack o’lanterns are the best option. Using lunch sacks and tea light candles around the house, kids can color away and make the house festive!

Bake & Decorate Cookies

What would the holidays be without coming home to the delicious aroma of cookies? Cookie baking and decorating is a great way to bond with the children and create memories to look back on. And with it being the holiday season, stores will be stocked with fun cookie cutter shapes or pre-made doughs. Increase the fun factor by purchasing food coloring and vanilla frosting so the kids can create fun designs on their cookies.

Treasure Hunt

Want to have a few minutes to yourself without the kids getting in your hair? Hide some items around the house, draw a map and tell them to get hunting. Provide a prize for the winner. Perhaps something like no chores that week.

Movie Marathon Night

You made hot cocoa and cookies and decorated the house for Halloween. Now put it all to use with a scary movie marathon night. Let each kid choose a movie, and make it a fun event for the whole family. Sometimes relaxing on the couch is exactly what the family needs.

Tape Art

Take crayons and watercolor paints to the next level by adding tape to the mix. Try something simple to begin with: cut a shape or letter into a piece of painter’s tape, apply the tape to a piece of construction paper, and then let your kids color or paint all over the page. Once the paint’s dry, peel the tape away and enjoy the blank white shapes.

Homemade Ninja Warrior Course (jump over pillows, crawl under tables, push-ups, etc.)

If your kids haven’t watched Ninja Warrior on TV, pull up YouTube and watch their fascination grow. Then get to work. Create an obstacle course for the kids and time how quickly they can get through it. Think of hopping over pillows, crawling under tables and dropping for 20 push-ups. Talk about getting the kids ready for naptime.

Kleenex Box Guitar

Got a musical genius on your hands? Or an artist at heart? Combine arts and crafts and music for an afternoon well spent. Click the tutorial above to learn how to make a guitar with an old Kleenex box, a few rubber bands and a paper towel tube. This best part is this DIY arts and craft project will last, and the kids can play with it again the next day or week.  

DIY Glowing Bouncy Balls

Like the Kleenex box guitar, this is another DIY project that can be kept and used later on. The glowing bouncy balls are perfect for a weekend at home with nothing to do, but remember to buy the ingredients in advance. There aren’t too many items needed, but borax probably isn’t sitting in an average person’s pantry.

Paper Airplane Hoops  

Cut a few circles of varying sizes into a cardboard poster and have your kids fly their paper airplanes through them. The tutorial above shows a poster with a point scale – more points earned for smaller holes and fewer points earned for larger holes. This activity will keep the kids occupied for hours!

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The Best Way to Make a Homemade Flashlight

by rayovac26, September 2016

Make a homemade flashlight with Rayovac batteries School is back in session, and alongside all of the homework and new best friends is the greatest class of all: science. Science class is where we learn to expand our minds to universal possibilities while performing some cool experiments. As a bonus, your child’s science schoolwork often presents opportunities for family bonding and creativity. So let’s invigorate your science-loving family with an easy, at-home science project for your kids. And what’s more fun than building your own flashlight with common household materials, and then telling spooky Halloween stories afterward? Making a homemade flashlight is a fun, simple science experiment for kids that teaches them how a conductive material like copper carries an electrical charge to a small lightbulb. Although this flashlight won’t be robust like a Rayovac flashlight, they can last for a while, especially if you use sturdy construction materials. Much like the tomato battery we showed how to make as a summer science project, this experiment demonstrates how electricity from a battery flows through conductive materials to provide power to everyday objects. Once your child understands how an electrical connection and circuit work, they’ll never see the world the same.


Materials needed to make a homemade flashlight

  • A sturdy cardboard tube. (Small poster tubes, paper towel tubes, even toilet paper roll tubes can work)
  • A piece of copper wire that is at least 5” long.
  • Two Rayovac D-cell batteries
  • Electrical tape
  • A 2.2 volt or 3 volt flashlight lightbulb. (The bulbs from Christmas lights can work well, too)
  • Small piece of black cloth
  • Paper cup

How to make a homemade flashlight

Step one in making a homemade flashlight Step 1: After you gather the materials, you’ll need to tape the one end of the copper wire to the negative end of one of the batteries. Don’t be afraid to use a decent amount of tape to ensure the wire is flush and snug against the negatively charged end of the battery. Making a homemade flashlight for kids Step 2: After the wire is securely fastened, tape the black cloth to the bottom of your sturdy tube. Hold the covered end up to a light source and peer into the tube; double check that no light sneaks its way through the cloth and into the tube. If you do see any light, add a layer of tape around the spot. Any light that makes it into the device dilutes its ability to output light. If you don’t have a cloth, then you can just tape the end of the tube. Step three in building a homemade battery Step 3: Insert the battery you’ve taped—wired end first—into the tube. Finagle the wire around in the tube until the non-taped end is sticking out of the tube. In case the wire isn’t long enough to stick out of the tube, you’ll either need a longer wire or a shorter tube. Step 4: Insert the next battery —negative side first—into the tube. The battery should rest flush against the one below it. This allows electricity to pass between the two batteries, from a cycle of electrons flowing from the positive connector to the negative. A homemade flashlight experiment for kids Step 5: Tape the bulb to the top of the battery, touching the exposed positive node. You’ll need to keep a small amount of the bulb’s metal base exposed for the last step, but do make sure the bulb is securely fastened to the battery and has the maximum amount of metal-to-metal surface area contact. make-a-flashlight-17 Step 6: Cut out a small hole in the paper cup, fit it over the lightbulb and tape it to the tubing. make-a-flashlight-11 Step 7: Finally the payoff; now you get to light up your flashlight. Take the end of the wire poking out of the tube and touch the exposed part of the bulb. This connects the battery circuit and gives the bulb power. It should light up immediately after the bulb base and copper wire touch. If you want to keep the bulb lit, gently wrap the wire around the bulb base. To turn the flashlight off all you have to do is move the copper wire away from the bulb. A homemade flashlight experiment That’s it, you’re done! Now it’s time to gather the family around your new light, turn out the others and tell some spooky stories. Just in time for Halloween. Have you heard the grim tale about a man named Tim who chose the wrong batteries? It’s one of our favorites. Watch it here.

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4 Gadgets Moms Need for a Stress-Free Day at the Amusement Park

by rayovac22, September 2016

A family at an amusement park

Rayovac Power Protect

Amusement park crowds can be overwhelming and swarms of people can make it easy to lose sight of your little one. The Rayovac Power Protect can help. The Power Protect is a small cylindrical phone charger that has a built-in flashlight and a 100 decibel emergency alarm. The device is similar in size and shape to a small can of pepper spray, and it has a ring at the top that acts like a panic button.  Pulling the ring causes an attention-snatching alarm to erupt and should draw the notice of any passerby. The safety siren is even audible from 200 yards away. To deactivate the personal alarm, press the power button or snap the ring back to its original setting. The Power Protect was designed for anyone who wants a sense of personal safety.Giving one to your child in case of an emergency will ensure that you (or security) find them fast in any crowded, noisy environment.

Handheld fan

Amusement parks come in all shapes, sizes and have plenty of different attractions. But one thing is unanimous among them all — long lines. Fall weather can be unpredictable no matter where you live in the country, and standing in line in  sweltering heat can be miserable. But sSomething simple like a battery-powered handheld fan can make the lines much more bearable. Snag yourself a fresh pack of Rayovac’s alkaline batteries, and enjoy the cool breeze and slight mist from your handheld fan. Just make sure your kids don’t forget theirs on the ride!

Portable phone charger

The first time your child rides a rollercoaster is priceless. The look of exhilaration, fear and joy that flow across their face is something you won’t soon forget. And because of smartphones and social media, it’s a sight your friends and family won’t forget either. But chances are you’ll be taking a lot of photos and videos of the family’s escapade throughout the park which drains phone batteries fast. Just be sure to toss one of Rayovac’s portable phone chargers in your bag, and you’ll never have to miss capturing those goofy, gleeful smiles.

Digital camera for kids

One of the best things about being a kid in an amusement park is the sense of wonder and amazement at your surroundings. Everything in the park is typically so huge and foreign to a child: rollercoasters, fun houses, prize games and costumed staff members. Letting your child have a kid-friendly digital camera is a great way to see the park through their eyes, and encourage them to pay attention to their surroundings. You can find rechargeable lithium-ion cameras and battery-powered options, too. Rayovac’s rechargeable batteries last up to 4X longer in digital cameras than their alkaline battery cousins.

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Debunking 7 Popular Hearing Loss and Hearing Aid Myths

by rayovac25, August 2016

Hearing Aid MythsIn May, we spoke about hearing aid innovations with Denis Carpenter, the director of technology, who has worked with Rayovac for 37 years. He expressed that many people still have misconceptions about hearing aids and hearing loss in general. Helping people hear is an important Rayovac commitment, and we want to clear up any common misconceptions about hearing aids, hearing aid batteries and hearing loss.

Myth 1: Only the elderly have hearing problems

Truth: Hearing loss can affect anyone at any point in their life. About 48 million Americans report some degree of hearing loss, and more than 10 million people in the United States have permanent hearing loss from loud noises. Another 30 million Americans are exposed to harmful noise levels every day. And although the generalization that hearing loss is an elderly problem has some merit, because one out of three 65 year olds has a hearing impairment, this ailment is far more widespread than a single demographic. Roughly 30 percent of Americans between ages 50 and 59 have some degree of hearing impairment, and about 5.2 million children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years old have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from excessive noise exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Myth 2: Hearing aids always restore full hearing

Truth: Hearing loss is unique to each person, and the amount of hearing that hearing aids can restore is unique to each user, too. Hearing aids are not like glasses, which can often restore a wearer’s vision back to “perfect.” The amount of hearing someone regains depends on the extent of their hearing loss, and the type of device they use. Perhaps for one person the restored hearing is the equivalent of perfect, but for someone else the device just lets them hear a bit better than before. However, this gap is narrowing. New hearing aid devices are getting better and better, year after year. And as the devices become better, so will the restoration possibilities people can tap into.

Myth 3: Loud noise is the only cause of hearing loss

Truth: Loud noise is the most common cause of hearing loss, but it’s not the only cause. There are many other contributors, including aging, a poor diet, diabetes, genetics, medication side effects, smoking and trauma. All of these conditions break down and destroy the hair cells in the inner ear, which are what transmits soundwaves to the brain. We’re born with a specific amount of these hair cells, and once they’re damaged or destroyed it permanently affects our hearing capabilities.

Myth 4: Hearing aids let in too much excess noise

Truth: When hearing aids transitioned from analog devices to digital ones, engineers gained the option to acutely modify incoming sound and how those noises are transmitted to the ear. This sound manipulation comes with more sophisticated directional microphones that can automatically amplify some sounds, while muffling or muting others. Let’s say a child is genetically hearing impaired and a sound wave enters her ear. The device interacts with the soundwave and an algorithm determines the noise is too quiet and it needs to be made louder so she can hear it. Analog devices could accomplish this amplification. However, analog aids increased the volume of everything, which made it more painful her already-loud sounds. The solution is eliminating excess background noise and programming hearing aids to siphon the important noises to the forefront. So contrary to the myth, modern devices actually handle excess background noise very well.

Myth 5: You should store your hearing aid batteries in the refrigerator

Truth: Hearing aid batteries should be stored at room temperature.  Like alkaline batteries, storing a zinc air battery in the refrigerator may actually harm the battery. The zinc air battery has holes in the top to allow maximum airflow, and if you put them in the refrigerator then condensation forms on the battery casing and moisture drips into the air holes. The moisture fills up the battery which ultimately can lead to premature battery failure.

Myth 6: A Hearing Aid Battery’s life is the same for everyone

Truth: Much like hearing aid performance and hearing restoration, hearing aid battery life is different for everyone. Many factors affect how long a hearing aid battery will last including battery size, aid usage, type of device, temperature, humidity and more.  To learn more about to get optimal hearing aid battery performance, visit our hearing aid battery facts page.

Myth 7: You can put your hearing aid battery in the device right after it’s un-tabbed

Truth: You should let you hearing aid battery sit un-tabbed for one minute before placing it into your hearing aid.  This step allows air to enter which is critical for use. The hearing aid battery is activated when the zinc within the battery mixes with the air from the environment. To learn more about hearing health, hearing aids and hearing aid batteries, visit Rayovac’s hearing aid resource center.

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Personal Stories from the American Red Cross

by rayovac12, August 2016

  Rayovac partners with the American Red Cross)

We sat side by side-- a newly-trained female client caseworker and I, a disaster mental health volunteer--in a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center. Next in line was a young survivor in his early 20's-- living in a local drug recovery center, who had lost his home, his girlfriend, his vehicle, and his job, in one of California's most devastating fires ever recorded.

I closed the door behind him as he took a seat. Shortly after he began, I reached for a bottle of water behind me, twisted off the cap, and handed it to him.  He talked and drank, cried and talked, and drank some more. For an hour, he related details of wrong turns, the long road back to sanity and sobriety, and finally the fire. We listened hard. Afterward, I asked about a sponsor,  12-step meetings, his support system.  The caseworker asked about housing plans and gave him information about government and community resources.

At the end, I gave him a blanket. I asked if he was hungry. “A little,” he admitted. I gave him a granola bar. I gave him a Disaster Distress Helpline brochure and the local crisis line number. He hugged me. He hugged her too.

“I noticed you take the cap off the water bottle", the caseworker said, after he left. "Why did you do that?"  "You saw that?" I replied, surprised. "Well, survivors under great stress easily dehydrate. When you open the bottle, it gives them 'permission' to drink it now rather than later.“

"Ah, good one", she said, nodding and jotting notes. "Your eyes never left his as you took off the cap.  And you sat forward when he started talking."  I grinned. "Were you observing me the whole time?"   "Of course I was!“ she laughed.  “I've never seen anyone work in the field before. I could never do what you did."

I looked puzzled. "But you were doing it."  Now she looked puzzled. "What do you think he'll remember from our interaction?" I asked.  A few beats later, she responded. "I think he'll remember how you knew so much about what he was going through."  "I'll bet you're wrong,” I replied.  “I'll bet he'll remember next to nothing of what I said. What he'll remember is how we both made him feel.  The water, the blanket, the snacks--there's a good chance he'll remember those also. But he won't forget your calm voice, the genuine smiles, the way he was deeply listened to, the way he was treated with dignity and respect.  Never underestimate the power of those simple gestures.  I promise you, those things are what people remember most about the Red Cross, in the end.”

“Maybe it's because those things look like hope.” She wrote that down, too.

I don't know what happened to him, of course.  But I know that she's a compassionate, caring, client caseworker, yet another Red Cross hope-giver, who now twists the cap off the water bottle as she hands it to the next survivor.

Julie Holly, MSE, LPC, CCTP, is a licensed mental health professional by trade and she, serves her community and those across the country such as the South Carolina floods and California wildfires. In addition, she served on an Integrated Care Team which provides a team approach to physical, spiritual and emotional recovery after a disaster.

"You are a part of the permanent narrative of the worst day of their lives."  - Julie Holly

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