Halloween is more than just a night of costumes and candy; it’s a celebration that brings together friends and family, strengthens community bonds, and sparks creativity. As children dress up as their favorite characters and go door-to-door collecting treats from neighbors, it’s hard not to get caught up in the spirit of spooky season. But before you head out to trick-or-treat with your adorable superheroes, ghosts, princesses, or pop icons out on Halloween, it’s important to think safety first.
Keep reading to learn tips about costume, driving and pedestrian safety and how to avoid a personal injury after trick-or-treating this year.
Disguise and Shine: Halloween Costume Safety
Before you head out on Halloween trick-or-treating, you need to pick out a costume. Whether it’s something topical, like a costume from a popular YouTube video or movie or an old classic like a ghost or mummy. Whatever you choose though, make sure it’s safe to wear out in public or even around the house.
“Our primary concern is kids running through neighborhoods at night,” says Bridgewater Police Chief Christopher Delmonte. “It’s helpful for kids to wear something reflective that makes them more obvious to see.”
Here are some other things to consider when planning Halloween costumes.
- Wear a flame-resistant costume. It may seem like overkill, but it’s an important safety measure that can significantly reduce potential fire hazards, ensuring a safer Halloween experience for all and don’t forget to be aware of lit pumpkins on your travels.
- Wearing a mask can make it harder to see. Choose the safer alternative of putting on a hat or wearing makeup! Remember to test any makeup well in advance so you know it won’t give you a rash or other reaction. Don’t forget to remove any makeup before going to bed to prevent skin and eye irritation.
- Contact lenses are a tempting accessory to add to your costume for that extra something to bring it all together. But remember that unless you get your contacts from an optician, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to eye injury.
Street TREAT: Pedestrian Safety
Pedestrians are always vulnerable, but on Halloween, the chance of danger is even higher than usual. When you go out to fill your bag with candy, make the night a TREAT, before you get a trick instead.
“It’s a good idea to go to neighborhoods that are condensed,” Delmonte suggests. “Main roads or busier side streets are tougher.”
When you have your trick-or-treating route planned, don’t forget TREAT.
T – Take a flashlight. Although it is important to bring a flashlight with you to see where you’re going when it gets dark on Halloween, the primary reason this item is essential is because it identifies pedestrians to drivers. Give the kids a flashlight so cars can easily identify them. Don’t have a flashlight? Glow sticks and cell phones work too.
R – Responsible adult. Young children need to be accompanied by a responsible adult. This supplies trick or treaters with an added layer of protection and guidance. Similarly, if not with an adult, trick or treaters need to use the buddy system to make sure everyone gets home safely.
E – Embrace road rules. When walking through neighborhoods, the center of town or a crowded street, make sure you are following the rules of the road—stick to sidewalks and crosswalks and obeying traffic signals whenever possible. When there isn’t a sidewalk, stay as close to the curb as possible.
A – Attention. A key rule of driving on Halloween is keeping your eyes on the road while driving – but this goes for pedestrians as well! Don’t be guilty of distracted walking by looking at your phone or letting your mind wander. And make sure you walk, don’t run.
T – Try to be seen. Wear bright colors, fluorescents, glow in the dark, or flashers, so that everyone will recognize you right away. Stay on brightly lit sidewalks when possible. Sometimes the best way to prevent an accident is by making yourself known.
Spooktacularly Safe Driving
As the sun goes down on Halloween night, it’s crucial to address the role of drivers. With trick-or-treaters, parents, pets, and younger siblings out on the road, drivers need to be extra cautious, especially in residential areas.
“We tell drivers to go half the speed they normally go no matter where you are,” Delmonte says. “Expect kids to be on the side of the road. Generally, pedestrians know what they are doing, but kids are sometimes more concentrated on their costume and the next house than the road.”
Here are 5 tips for drivers to consider when taking to the road on Halloween.
- Go slow and focus. There are more pedestrians on the road during trick-or-treat hours and far more of them are children than usual. Consider this when you are traveling and go well under the speed limit. Take your time, pay attention, you’ll get there when you get there.
- Watch the road. There are more distractions for drivers than ever before: Cell phones and other mobile devices, car entertainment systems, eating and drinking, checking maps, fixing hair or makeup or even just daydreaming. With trick or treaters out, you need to get from point A to point B safely. Kids are smaller than the average pedestrian, making them harder to see, and they could jump out into the road anytime.
- Check the typical places. Kids will be on sidewalks, crosswalks, the sides of roads and in driveways. You may not see them unless you are specifically looking.
- Don’t drink and drive. Halloween means celebrations and parties that sometimes involve drinking. More than 50 people were killed on Halloween night in drunk-driving crashes in 2020.There are other ways to get home, have a designated driver, use a ride share service Just don’t drink and drive.
- Buckle in, but not in costumes. Drivers and passengers should wear a seatbelt whenever they get in a car. But, on Halloween, costumes can lead to difficulty buckling or unsafe situations. Have children change into their costumes after they’ve reached their destination, not before. That way they can be safely buckled in the car.
Other Wickedly Good Tips
Here are some other tips to consider to make sure your trick or treating goes smoothly this Halloween.
Make your clothing visible too. Apart from costumes, pedestrians, and drivers, there are additional Halloween safety tips to keep in mind. Use reflective tape on clothing in addition to costumes. In dark areas, this can mean the difference between being seen or not.
Think about pet safety. Pets are also in danger out on the road. Keep an eye out for them as well. When you get back home, make sure you keep dangerous foods away from your pets. Chocolate, raisins, and any candy containing xylitol are especially dangerous for dogs.
Don’t back up. When you park your car on Halloween, park it in a way where you won’t need to back out of the space. With all the pedestrians, specifically children, it might be hard to see if you are backing into someone.
Check that candy. The FDA advises parents to inspect candy for tampering. Make sure that any open candy is thrown away and do not consume any homemade food or candy.
Keches Law Can Help
In the unfortunate event of an accident during your Halloween celebrations, Keches Law Group is here to help. Our experienced personal injury lawyers are here if you or a loved one needs legal assistance after a trick-or-treating incident.