With Halloween looming at the end of the month, preparing for a safe trick-or-treating experience should start now for motorists and families alike.
The mix of being out past dark, wearing costumes and trying to get in as many houses as possible during trick-or-treating can lead to deadly consequences if precautions aren’t taken. Chances of a child being killed in a crash on Halloween are two times higher on average than any other day, according to Safe Kids Clark County.
With the safety of children across the valley at stake, officials are urging drivers to be more alert while driving on Halloween and for parents to ensure their children are extra cautious when crossing roads while out celebrating the candy-filled holiday.
“Parents need to talk to kids about safety before they go out trick-or-treating and do everything possible to help drivers see them by having reflective material on costumes and bags and having flashlights or other lighted items for kids to carry,” Jeanne Marsala, registered nurse and Safe Kids Clark County spokeswoman, said in a statement. “There are several easy and effective behaviors that parents can share with kids to help reduce their risk of injury.”
One important piece of advice from Marsala is that children under age 12 should not be crossing streets on Halloween without an adult.
“If older kids are mature enough to go trick-or-treating without adult supervision, parents should make sure they go in a group and stick to a predetermined route with good lighting,” Marsala added.
Here are some tips parents can relay to their children before they go out on Halloween.
■ Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there aren’t any sidewalks on your path, walk facing traffic as far from the road as possible. Having children walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings is a way to increase safety.
■ Children should slow down and stay alert, watching out for cars that are turning or reversing and never dart out into the street or walk between parked cars.
■ Children should cross the street safely at corners, using any available traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. Walk, don’t run, across the street.
■ Decorating costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and choosing light colors will make children more visible to motorists. Carrying glow sticks or flashlights can also increase a trick-or-treater’s visibility to drivers.
■ When possible, children should opt for face paint instead of a mask, as they can obstruct a child’s view.
Here are safety tips for drivers out on Halloween:
■ Don’t speed and stay within posted speed limits on every local road, especially in residential neighborhoods. Be especially cautious between 5:30 p.m.and 9:30 p.m., the most popular trick-or-treating hours.
■ Be overly alert and take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. With excitement in the air, children’s movement near roads can be unpredictable.
■ Don’t drive distracted inside your car. Stay off the phone and do not eat while behind the wheel to ensure you have full concentration on the road and surroundings.
With more children on the streets and sidewalks than usual during Halloween, many of those kids focused on filling their bags and buckets full of candy can get caught up in the excitement of the holiday and not be as careful while crossing streets.
“Safe Kids and local law enforcement urge drivers to slow down on neighborhood roads to make Halloween more enjoyable for everyone, but also to help save lives,” Marsala said.
Contact Mick Akers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X. Send questions and comments to email@example.com.