By Allie Vadas
Halloween is quickly approaching. Your children may have already picked their costumes—happy to be a ghost, goblin, witch, or fairy princess—but don’t forget about children’s safety as they trick or treat this Halloween evening. Excited children and increased foot traffic on neighborhood streets raise the risk for accidents. There are ways to lower those risks, however. We’ll tell you some simple guidelines to help keep children safe and help drivers navigate the streets with caution.
The Halloween Safety Risks are Real
Research from Sperling’s BestPlaces and State Farm proves Halloween to be “the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrian accidents.” Accidents involving vehicles and children are more than double on Halloween than on any other day of the year. 70% of these accidents happen somewhere other than an intersection or crosswalk. 25% of accidents occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., when the sun is setting and it starts getting dark. Those statistics are a lot scarier than any costume or face mask.
Here’s the bottom line. Be aware of your surroundings and use the following tips to keep the kids, yourself and others safe and have fun this Halloween.
Safety Advice on Costumes
Parents and kids:
- Masks and head-wear should not block vision.
Hats should fit securely so they don’t slip over eyes. If you are fiddling with a head piece, mask or hat, you may be less aware of your surroundings.
- Wear bright costumes and reflective tape for visibility.
While reflective tape might not be suitable for a Batman costume, it will make you visible to drivers and keep you safe. Get creative. Who said the bat on the front of your shirt or on the back of your cape couldn’t be reflective and really bright?
- Make sure you are comfortable.
Similar to the above, you do not want to be worrying about wardrobe malfunctions when you should be worrying about your surroundings. Make sure your costume is comfortable and that you are able to move freely in it. This will also help prevent any trips and falls.
Driving on Halloween
Drivers, here are some Halloween safety tips:
- Watch for kids at intersections and anywhere near the street or road.
Use extra caution. Imagine that kid standing on the curb suddenly darting in front of your car. Assume there will be kids out of view—perhaps behind that large oak tree or parked van—that could potentially cross your driving path.
- Slow down when going through residential neighborhoods.
While we would like to think that all kids will be looking both ways and crossing in crosswalks, some will not. Slowing down on neighborhood streets will give you more time to react.
- Use caution when pulling in and out of driveways.
Picking up and dropping off happens a lot on Halloween, making it very important to Triple-check when backing up! With kids so focused on the candy they just received and the next house they are going to hit, they are not as concerned with the cars pulling in and out of driveways.
- Eliminate any driving distractions (as you should be already)!
Halloween should be not different to any other driving situation. Eliminate all distractions such as cell phones, food, unruly passengers and loud music to make sure all focus is on driving.
- Keep your headlights on, even if it isn’t dark yet.
This will help make your car more visible to pedestrians. Headlights, of course, at night and even at dusk help you see the road ahead more clearly.
- Make your vehicle easy to spot.
If you are following behind trick or treaters in a car or responsible for pick up or drop off of trick or treaters, make sure you have something unique like a light up pumpkin on your dash or a decorative antenna topper for kids to recognize. This will prevent against kids accidentally approaching the wrong car.
Trick or Treating Tips
- Stay with a group.
Straying from the group is a recipe for something bad to happen. If this does happen, make sure you have discussed meeting locations for your group to resort back to if a group member has strayed.
- Carry a flashlight or glow sticks.
This will ensure that you are seen and can see where you are going. Remember, if you cannot see them, they cannot see you.
- Cross the street at corners and in cross walks.
This goes without saying, but the safest way to cross a street is after looking both ways and crossing in a crosswalk or at the corner of a street. Crossing guards and traffic lights also help with making crossing the street safer, so take advantage when the opportunity presents itself.
- Practice the fundamental rule we all learn: Stop, Look and Listen before crossing the street.
We have all learned it at some point or another in our lives. Halloween is the perfect night to not forget the safety tips we’ve learned.
- Walk! Don’t run across the street, especially before looking both ways.
Slowing down and walking across the street will help everyone see you and keep you safe.
- Don’t text and treat!
Look where you are walking and be aware of your surroundings. This will also prevent you from walking into the low tree limbs that may be trimming the sidewalk.
- Make eye contact with the driver of the vehicle before crossing the street.
This is important because this ensures that both parties, the driver and the crosser, can see each other and recognize that they see each other.
- Walk on sidewalks or paths.
If that is not an option, walk facing traffic so you can see the cars coming toward you. Walking facing the traffic will enable you to see the oncoming cars rather than having your back to them and being unaware at what is driving towards you.
- Do not walk in between parked cars and watch for cars that are backing up or turning.
Make it easy and cross at the corner or crosswalk!
- Make sure you have a plan with drop off and meet up points.
Clear understanding by all to ensures that everyone is on the same page and knows exactly where to go when finished trick or treating.
- Follow curfew.
Most neighborhoods enforce a curfew on Halloween. While it may seem like a total bummer to have a curfew on one of the most fun holidays of the year, there is a reason for it. This is to keep the residents and trick or treaters safe, so follow the curfew!
- Consider going trunk or treating.
(If you can’t easily follow these Halloween safety tips).
The overall theme here is pay attention and stay alert. While the fatalities on Halloween are declining in recent years, it still does not mean that you can let your guard down in terms of keeping yourself and others safe. If you keep these guidelines in mind, you can stay safe while having fun, as kids gather their delightful pile of treats.