When you’re a kid, Halloween is the most wonderful night of the year. You get to dress up, stay up later than usual, and collect loads of candy while walking around with your friends. While every child should get to enjoy the holiday, they should do so safely. When you compare Halloween to every other day of the year, there are twice as many deaths for child pedestrians. Twenty-three percent of all pedestrian fatalities on Halloween are caused by a drunk driver.
To help you enjoy the holiday without excessive worrying, we’ve compiled some Halloween safety tips. When you implement them, they should help ease your mind and help you enjoy the day with a little less stress.
Pedestrian Safety for Children on Halloween
Children are smaller than adults, and therefore harder for drivers to see. This is true in broad daylight, but when you’re trick-or-treating after the sun goes down it becomes an even bigger issue. To help your child be seen, put reflector tape on their costume. This will help drivers see them from far off rather than at the last second.
When you have a younger child, be strict with the rules. They should not be allowed to trick-or-treat without an adult. Until children are entering their teenage years, they should also be accompanied by an adult when crossing the street. Make sure they know it’s a rule that’s not meant to cramp their style; it’s an issue of visibility. When you’re crossing, always make the trek at street corners or where there is a crosswalk.
When you’re walking, stay on a sidewalk or path if at all possible. If there is literally nowhere else to walk, you may want to consider trick-or-treating in another familiar neighborhood. If you must spend the night in a neighborhood that’s not pedestrian-friendly, be sure to walk as far to the side as possible, and that you’re always walking on the left side. This allows you to see oncoming traffic; if you walk on the right side, you’re more likely to be surprised by it.
Avoiding trips and falls is also very important when you’re looking at pedestrian accidents. Make sure costumes aren’t too long, and that any footwear your child is wearing fits well enough that they can run without stumbling.
Halloween Safety as a Driver
The number one rule for driving safely on Halloween is to never, ever do so while intoxicated. The best way to avoid this is to have a plan in place for a designated driver before you leave, and to make sure they stick to the plan. If you find yourself stranded without a 100% sober driver, there are many services that will send a driver to drive you home in your own car. You can search for one in your area before you go out for the night. That way you already have the number in your phone should you find yourself in a bad situation.
Many pedestrian accidents happen on Halloween when the driver is not intoxicated, too. To prevent these accidents, drive cautiously. Slow down, especially in residential or densely populated areas. Don’t assume pedestrians will follow “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” signs to the tee, as most of them will be children. Not just any children, but children hyped up on sugar and pure excitement.
Halloween is a fun holiday, and the statistics shouldn’t keep you from enjoying it. They should give you pause for preparation, though, to ensure everyone has a fun and safe night.