October 31 is a fun day for most people. For families, it involves costumes and trick-or-treating, and even if you don’t have children you might enjoy seeing the neighborhood kids out and about.
There are also plenty of adult Halloween parties you might be invited to as well. Halloween gives everyone the chance to be playful and creative, but at the same time, it’s a holiday that does have some risks. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Halloween is one of the most dangerous nights of the year.
Being aware of the risks related to Halloween isn’t a way to create anxiety, but instead, it allows you to proactively ensure you’re staying safe and keeping your kids and family safe.The following are some of the main risks to be aware of on Halloween.
When children are out trick-or-treating and it’s dark, it can increase the risk of pedestrian accidents. There are some things to remember as far as reducing the likelihood of a pedestrian accident.
First, your child’s costume shouldn’t have a hood or mask because it can interfere with how your child can see oncoming cars. If their costume does have a hood or mask, ensure they take it off as they’re walking door-to-door.
If your child’s costume is dark, it’s harder to see them, so you should consider adding reflectors.
Something else to consider is that on Halloween, as with other holidays, there may be more impaired drivers on the road. This is especially true the later into the night it gets.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children who are 14 and younger are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other night.
This is because of not only the risks above, such as costumes and impaired drivers but also because kids may be excited and not thinking about safety while they’re out.
For kids who are ten and younger, an adult should be present when they trick-or-treat. For kids who are older, it’s up to you to determine their maturity to do things on Halloween without an adult but always err on the side of caution.
If you’re going to be driving on Halloween, make sure you’re watching for children and in particular smaller ones who might not be easily visible.
Be cautious when you’re entering and leaving driveways and alleys, and also watch for kids who might be on areas other than sidewalks or driveways such as medians or curbs.
Fires on Halloween might not be something you think about as much as pedestrian safety, but this is another risk of the night. When children are walking near luminaries or pumpkins with candles, it can be a fire hazard.
There is also the potential for decorations at Halloween parties to lead to an increased fire risk.
When buying costumes, make sure they’re flame resistant or flame retardant, and if you’re making costumes, consider the materials you use.
You don’t want costumes with long trains or anything that could breeze over an open flame without your child noticing.
When it’s dark, costumes are being worn and everyone is excited, so falls may occur. It’s tough for anyone to see in the dark, but it can be particularly difficult for younger children or anyone in a mask. If possible, use face paint instead of masks and make sure that your kids only walk on driveways and sidewalks rather than going through lawns.
Try to keep the costume accessories to a minimum, too, such as swords, knives, or wands.
As far as your home and making it suitable for Halloween visitors, clean up your lawn and walkways before the big night. Remove anything that could be a tripping hazard like toys or garden hoses, and get debris off the sidewalk.
Make sure your outside light bulbs are working, and find a way to control your dog or other household pets before trick-or-treaters come.
Halloween Safety Tips
Some of these tips have been touched on above, and others haven’t, but in general, the following are important Halloween safety tips any family should keep in mind.
- Choose bright costumes with reflective features or add reflective tape
- Avoid shoes that don’t fit well or long costumes that could come in contact with flames or pose a tripping hazard
- Add reflect tape to trick-or-treat bags for even more visibility
- Choose hats that fit properly and swap masks for face paint if possible
- Pin your child’s name, address and phone number inside his or her costume in case they get separated from you
- Use a glowstick or a flameless candle in your family’s jack-o-lantern to lower the fire risk
- Reconsider carving pumpkins and instead opt to paint them or draw on them
- Don’t leave pumpkins that have candles in them unattended or on the ground
- If you have older kids who are going trick-or-treating on their own, create a specific route and plan they have to follow and agree on a set time they’ll come home
- Advise your children or teens to never go into a home while trick-or-treating
- Being in a larger group while trick-or-treating can help you be more visible and reduce the likelihood of a pedestrian accident
- Don’t look at electronic devices while you’re out on Halloween because it’s a distraction
- If there aren’t sidewalks available, walk facing traffic and stay as far to the left as you can
- If you’re driving on Halloween, put all of your devices and distractions away
- Use your headlights fairly early in the evening because it will help you better see kids who are out
Halloween can be a lot of fun for everyone, but there are precautions that need to be taken. Knowing the risks and preventing against them can help your family enjoy Halloween but also stay safe.