Safety Spotlight: Halloween
On Halloween, making sure the frivolity doesn’t turn to calamity means more than sifting through the candy haul for dangerous objects or keeping the kids from gobbling too much sugar.
The National Safety Council reports that children are more than twice as likely to be hit and killed by a motor vehicle on Halloween than on any other day. Adults need to be aware of their responsibilities as drivers, pedestrians, parents, neighbors and party hosts.
Here are some tips for keeping children and adults safe during dress-up, parties and neighborhood trick-or-treating.
- Drive slowly on days and nights when Halloween parties and trick-or-treating are likely. Take extra care in driveways, alleys and when pulling out of parking spaces.
- Watch for pedestrians in the streets, near curbs and at corners. Yield to pedestrians crossing the street. At corners, don’t encroach on crosswalks.
- Be especially aware of pedestrians in dark clothing, particularly at sunset and late evening.
- If possible, avoid driving through neighborhoods known for high trick-or-treating traffic.
- Adults attending Halloween parties should plan a safe way to get home, especially if alcohol is being served.
- Keep costumes bright, reflective and short enough that they won’t cause tripping or get tangled in bicycles or wagon wheels. Shoes should be easy to walk in. Add reflective elements to costumes, bags or shoes to make trick-or-treaters easier to see.
- Choose flame-resistant costumes and accessories. Do not use sharp objects as accessories, especially for children.
- Avoid masks that block sightlines or hats that don’t fit properly. If using makeup, ensure that it’s nontoxic, doesn’t cause skin irritation and won’t run into the eyes and cause burning.
- Take flashlights with new batteries and make sure adults accompany young children.
- Plan a route for older children who are allowed to go on their own. Make sure all your children know what to do in an emergency or if they get separated from you or their group.
- Instruct children to look out for traffic, cross only at corners and not dart between parked cars or into the street.
- Only go to houses with porch lights on. Make sure children know to not enter a stranger’s house or car for a treat.
- At your house, make sure outdoor lighting works, and keep the porch, yard and driveway clear of items that could cause tripping: decorations, toys, lawn furniture, hoses, leaves, etc.
- Keep pets restrained and away from trick-or-treaters.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics has a comprehensive list of Halloween safety guidelines.
- The National Highway Traffic Administration has advice for motorists, pedestrians and party hosts.
- The National Safety Council has more tips.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offers trick-or-treating safety tips.
- The National Fire Protection Association has fire-safe Halloween reminders.