Steps to Take for a Safe Halloween
The photographer writes: “On Halloween we all get together and sit out on the driveway, handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters. As much fun as the kid’s costumes are, it’s hilarious to see them negotiate the social task of getting something for free from a stranger.”
With Halloween falling on Monday, people will be celebrating at parties all weekend long. And while it’s a fun holiday for children and adults alike, it’s important to take safety measures to make sure it stays fun.
AAA urges teens and adults to designate a sober driver before going out to parties. The organization writes that 58% of all traffic fatalities that occurred in the U.S. last year on Halloween night involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 — which is illegal in every state.
Drivers who are caught with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit will face serious consequences that can include:
• Loss of driving privileges
• Impounding of your car
• Jail time
• Increases in your insurance rates
AAA also suggests that party-goers consider staying overnight if the party is at a friend’s home, or at a hotel within walking distance if the party is in a downtown area. Many hotels offer special Halloween rates.
If you are having the party at your home, give your guests driving directions that will allow them to avoid driving in residential areas as much as possible. Remind your guests to plan ahead to designate a sober driver. Also, have alcohol-free beverages available, and do not let impaired guests drive. Have a list of taxi company phone numbers on hand for those guests who are drunk.
If you are driving to and from parties, steer clear of residential areas where trick-or-treaters will be walking from house to house. Wherever you are driving, watch out for children in the street. Children might not be paying attention to traffic, might forget to look both ways when crossing the street, might cross in the middle of the block, or dart out from between parked cars. When driving through residential areas, make sure to obey the speed limit or even go more slowly.
As the sun sets, it becomes even more vital to keep an eye out and watch carefully for kids who may be easy to miss. ‘Children may be wearing costumes that are difficult to see in the dark,’ says Tammy Ezer of InsuranceHotline.com. Parents with children heading out trick-or-treating should use glow sticks, flashlights and reflective tape to ensure their children are visible, even though watching for pedestrians is always the responsibility of the driver, because the consequences can be very serious.
American Medical Response, whose national headquarters are in Greenwood Village, Colorado, says it is important for parents to help select children’s costumes. As Kristin Dickerson, reporting for KTUL.com, writes, the costume fabric should be flame-retardant, warm, and sturdy. Children’s faces should be unobstructed so they can see, hear, and breathe easily, so makeup is a safer choice than masks. If the child wears a hat, make sure it does not block his or her vision. Place stripes of highly reflective tape on the front and back of the costume to make it easier for drivers to see the children in the dark.
Children should wear comfortable, flat shoes that fit well. Avoid over-sized shoes because children could trip in them. Always make sure a child is accompanied by an adult, and give each child a flashlight to help them to see in the dark as they walk from house to house.
Approach only those homes that have lights on in front. Stay on sidewalks (where they are available), and walk facing traffic. Cross streets only at intersections. Do not allow children to eat any treats until they have returned home and an adult has examined what the children have collected.
InsuranceHotline.com says in order to make sure your home is safe for Halloween, keep driveways and sidewalks free of extension cords and other tripping hazards, avoid using fog machines that make it hard for trick-or-treaters to see where they are going as they walk to and from your house, and turn on extra lights in your yard, which will also discourage vandals.
Use flameless, electronic (LED) candles instead of traditional ones to reduce the risk of fires. Make sure the wiring in your decorations is in good condition so it will not cause a fire.
And if by any chance you are thinking of entering your car in a Halloween costume contest for cars (like the one being held on Oct. 29 at the Saratoga Auto Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY), it would be a good idea not to put your car in its costume until you arrive at the contest location. If your car was in costume on the way there, it might cause other drivers to become distracted.
Here’s a cute short video about Halloween safety from the Seattle Children’s Hospital: