With Halloween around the corner, it’s a good time to consider ways to improve the safety of trick-or-treaters planning to roam neighborhoods and communities. The holiday brings delight to many but also heightens the risk of pedestrian injuries, as costumed characters dart from house to house or are distracted by scary sights and sounds, especially after nightfall.
Those who are handing out treats at home can also help improve safety by keeping pathways to the door well lit and free of any obstacles like bicycles or garden hoses that might block the path of visiting goblins, witches and ghosts. Drivers should be extra careful on the roads that day, especially between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m., when trick-or-treaters are most likely to be out.
It’s always best for an adult to accompany young children when they trick or treat. Often your town or park district will offer Halloween activities earlier in the day so you can avoid going out after dark. Older children should travel in groups and create a “buddy system” to get each other home safely and prevent walking alone.
Here are some more suggestions:
— For older children going out with friends, agree on a specific time when they should return home and get flashlights with batteries for everyone. Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
— Only go to homes with a porch light on and, ideally, a well-lit pathway.
— Make sure that shoes fit and costumes are short enough so kids don’t trip on them. Hats and/or masks should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes and blocking vision.
— Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
— Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk and crosswalks. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
— Never cut across yards or use alleys.
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