Halloween is an oddity.
Children are permitted to go door-to-door to strangers’ houses asking for free candy. Ever think about that?
Let’s not forget that kids are donned in capes, caps and costumes…
Whether or not you participate, there is always a risk of injury to yourself or others - especially if you intend to drive your car during trick-or-treating hours, typically from about 4:00-8:00 PM. Here are some tips to avoid getting hurt or injuring others during the candy-fueled crusade:
Parents of Trick-or-Treaters:
If you or someone you know participates in the festivities, please be sure to play it safe:
- Avoid wearing masks, makeup or other items that can obstruct your vision or make it tough to breathe.
- Keep capes, dresses and flowing garb away from your footpath so they don’t become a trip hazard.
- Wear comfortable shoes with treaded soles to minimize fatigue and falls.
- Plan your route in advance so you don’t get lost.
- Use a flashlight to light your path. (Make sure it has fresh batteries)
- Wear flashers or reflectors so vehicles can see you.
- Cross ONLY at designated crosswalks.
- If you’re using props, such as fake weaponry, make sure they’re not capable of causing harm. They should be soft, flexible and FAKE.
- Check the candy. For allergens, dangerous substances, or opened packages.
Understand that if you invite trick-or-treaters onto your property, you are legally responsible for their safety.
- Ensure the sidewalks and pathways to your front door are well-illuminated and clear of debris or trip hazards.
- Use battery-operated votive candles in your jack-o-lanterns to avoid a potential fire hazard.
- Keep pets away from guests. Even if you have a “friendly” pet, he may become alarmed or aggressive with an influx of visitors.
- Avoid the use of strobe lighting or any types of flashing lights that may disorient your guests.
- Fog machines can make it difficult for trick-or-treaters to see. If you use it, keep it from blowing toward walkways.
- As tempting as it may be to make your home scary, be wise. Children who run out of fear may trip on the way, collide with others, get separated (or lost) from his group, or run into the street and get struck by a vehicle.
- If you don’t plan on participating in the event, post a sign near (but not directly on) the pathway leading up to your home. This will prevent trick-or-treaters from approaching your property.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children are more than four times as likely to be killed by a car while walking on Halloween night than at any other time of the year.
Here’s what you can do to help keep kids safe:
- Drive slowly and come to a complete stop if you approach idling vehicles, in case the driver is dropping off or picking up children. Once you are sure there are no people around the vehicle, pass slowly. If you’re the one picking up or dropping off children, use your hazard lights.
- Put down the phone and do not pick it up again until you’ve parked your car. Resist the temptation to pick it up at red lights. Switching your gaze between the road and the phone may disorient you, risking the lives of others on the road.
- Be watchful for children spontaneously darting into the street. As much as one can encourage children to use crosswalks, the excitement (or fright) of the day may have them running amok in the roads. Be the extra caution they need. Always yield to pedestrians, even if your light is green to go. Children may not see you or freeze when they do.
- Don’t assume other drivers see you or pedestrians. Use your signals. Use your horn if you must. Communicate with other drivers.
Regardless of how you may feel about Halloween, I’m sure we can all agree that we want everyone involved to get through the day safely. Whether or not you participate, there are those in your life that do - let’s be kind, considerate and careful for all of their sakes.