Halloween is a unique and exciting holiday for everyone, but safety has increasingly become a concern over the years, which is not unwarranted. Children and often even teenagers or young adults dress up and take to the streets to knock on people’s doors and ask for candy — not exactly safety at its finest. Adults can kidnap children, people can force their way into candy-givers’ homes, candy distributors can poison the sweets they are handing out, etc. Statistically, children are also twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween night. So how do we stay safe on a holiday that normalizes strangers approaching your home and asking for you to open your door? How do we ensure our children are safe on the streets of your neighborhoods?
Children First: How Can You, As A Parent, Protect Your Children
- The best way to keep your children safe is to accompany them while they are trick-or-treating. If this is not possible, try to send a responsible adult to accompany children.
- Use all crosswalks and follow traffic signals to lower the risk of an accident involving a vehicle.
- Make sure you to look left, right and left again before you begin to cross any street.
- While crossing the street, put your electronics away and focus on the road ahead. Aside from there being more than usual number of pedestrians on the street, many children wear dark colors during Halloween making them more invisible to a distracted driver.
- Halloween involves parties in which drivers inevitably and irresponsibly operate their vehicles under the influence. 44% of vehicle fatalities on Halloween night involve a legally drunk driver behind the wheel.
- Teach your children to make eye contact with a driver before crossing in front of them.
- Teach your children to walk and never run across the street, especially at night.
- If your children insist on trick-or-treating alone or you cannot join them, make sure they go in groups.
- Add reflective tape to your children’s costumes. Give your kids flashlights or glow sticks to carry as well.
- Consider painting your child’s face instead of putting a mask on their head, which could impair their peripheral vision.
- Make sure your children’s costume is a proper length so they do not fall.
- You can take your children’s collected candy to your local police station to have it tested if you are concerned that candy may have been tampered with. If a candy is open or seems suspicious, it is better to toss it.
- Another method of keeping your children safe is to buy your own candy and swap out your children’s candy after they have finished trick-or-treating.
Now for the Drivers
- Slow down. Especially in neighborhoods as that is where children tend to trick-or-treat. Children can be quite unpredictable, especially when they are excited by Halloween and are operating on a sugar rush/high energy.
- Slowing down can also help you avoid drunk drivers on the road as you are able to pay more attention to your surroundings.
- If you are backing in or out of your driveway, do so carefully.
- Minimize distractions in your car. For the safety of the children, turn your music down or off. Do not stare at your phone’s GPS or text while driving, which you should not be doing anyhow.
- Turn your high beams on in neighborhoods so you can see children from further distances and drive accordingly.
- The most popular trick-or-treating hours are between 6:30 PM and 10 PM, so be highly alert during these times as well as an hour before and after.
- Put your pets inside a closed room before opening the door for trick-or-treaters.
- Remember to turn your alarm off before opening your door. If you live in a less busy neighborhood, turn your alarm on in between trick-or-treaters.
- Keep your porch light on.
- Peak out of your window or peep-hole before blindly opening the door for anyone.
- If you plan on handing out candy, try to do so with at least one other person in the home and close by to take action if necessary.
- Vandalism is at its highest on Halloween night, so make sure to put your more expensive or eye-catching possessions away.
We hope you and your children have a fun and safe Halloween. Be sure to implement these tips to avoid any accidents or scary situations this Halloween!