Keeping Your Monsters Safe: 10 Tips for a Harmless Halloween
On Halloween, the only thing scarier than the undead is a reckless driver. In the spirit of the holiday, drivers may take greater risks than usual, and children may not be as careful as they need to be.
Here are a few frightening statistics:
- October is the month with the 2nd highest pedestrian fatality rate (National Safety Council).
- Halloween is one of the top 3 days of the year for pedestrian injuries and fatalities (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
- Kids are 4 times more likely to be hit by a vehicle on Halloween than any other day (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
High level of risk is the natural result of increased pedestrian traffic and abundant distractions. Fortunately, you can take steps to keep your family safe from a variety of unwelcome Halloween horrors.
10 Ways to Keep Trick-Or-Treaters Safe on Halloween
Whether you have a child of your own or simply want to look out for the neighborhood trick-or-treaters, following these guidelines will help make Halloween a safer night for everyone involved.
- Obey all traffic signs, signals, and speed limits. Drive slower than the speed limit to accommodate the higher likelihood of an excited trick-or-treater running into the street without warning.
- Check your headlights before going out. Pedestrians of all ages may be wearing dark costumes. Functioning headlights will not only help you see trick-or-treaters but will help them see you.
- Scan more often. Children may be particularly unaware of oncoming cars. They may forget to look both ways before crossing the street, or they may stop in the middle of the road if they become distracted. Anticipating their moves will help you react more quickly.
- Carefully enter and exit driveways. Any time your path intersects a sidewalk, drive slowly—all pedestrians have right-of-way.
- Supervise trick-or-treaters. Young children should be accompanied by an adult or a responsible older child. If not, they should trick-or-treat in a group, and at least one of them should have a reliable means of communication with a trusted adult (e.g. cellphone, location services, etc.).
- Plan the route. Figure out where your trick-or-treaters will be and when. You can make sure they only visit safe and familiar neighborhoods, and knowing their route will help you respond quickly if they need an adult.
- Teach trick-or-treating safety. Children should know essential Halloween rules such as only stopping at well-lit houses, never entering a stranger’s house, and waiting to eat the candy until you make sure it’s safe.
- Talk about traffic and pedestrian safety. Treat-or-treaters need to stay on the sidewalk. If they cross the street, they need to look both ways and cross only at corners, rather than coming out in between cars. They should always know to walk instead of run.
- Make sure costumes are safe. A poorly fitting costume may cause a trick-or-treater to trip. It should not obstruct their vision or their breathing, and it should be reflective and easily visible to cars. Because of the prevalence of jack-o’-lanterns and other candles, costumes should also be flame-retardant.
- Ensure your trick-or-treaters have a reliable source of light. They should be equipped with flashlights or smartphones, and they should know not to shine lights in drivers’ eyes.
A few small changes in your Halloween festivities will go a long way toward protecting all participants. When you take the time to plan for potential risks, you and your loved ones can enjoy the holiday without fear of a preventable tragedy.
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