Halloween isn’t as simple as it used to be. Nowadays, preparing for trick-or-treating involves more than just picking out a costume and goodie bag. It’s such a fun, child-oriented event that we seldom stop to think of the risks involved.
The reality is that a child is two times more likely to be fatally struck by a car on Halloween than at any other point during the year. Why? Children are crossing the street at night, sometimes without looking or darting out from between parked cars. It doesn’t help if they are wearing dark-colored costumes or masks that partially obscure their vision.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to protect your child this Halloween.
Pick a costume that fits your child well and would not cause tripping. Consider face-paint or a costume hat instead of a mask. If you will be out after dusk, add reflective tape to your child’s costume or bag. A fun alternative is to carry a glow stick or wear a glow necklace.
Speak with your child about the importance of staying with you or another trusted adult at all times while trick-or-treating.
Walk along a planned route through a well-lit area. Bring a flashlight just in case.
Stick to the sidewalks and only cross the street at a crosswalk. Look both ways first to make sure no cars are coming. If there are cars on the street, wait until all cars have fully stopped; do not assume a car will stop even if you see it slowing down. Never walk out into the street from between parked cars.
Only approach homes with an outside light on. Make sure your child knows to never go into a house or car for candy, but to stay outside the door with you or a trusted adult.
Check your child’s costume every 10-20 minutes to make sure it hasn’t slipped or his or her shoelaces haven’t come undone.
Remind your child to wait to eat their treats until after you have looked at them first. Children should not eat candy that has already been opened.
This month at our Cadence Education schools, we have been talking with students about these basic Halloween safety practices. Our Trick-or-Treat Safety Cards can help you initiate these conversations with your child at home.