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Keep Your Trick-or-Treaters Safe This Year With These Tips

A study found that 43 percent more pedestrians are killed on Halloween than on any other autumn night

Published on: October 08, 2019

kids after dark trick-or-treating

Jack-o-lanterns? Check. 
Spider webs? Check. 
Skeletons? Check. 
Make no bones about it — Halloween is here and it’s time for trick-or-treating, costume parties and haunted houses!

But any parent who has felt their heart leap into their throat as their child darted toward a busy road knows that amid the contrived spookiness of Halloween, real dangers lurk. Between the sugar-fueled kids scampering across unlit roads in dark costumes and partygoers partaking in libations and then getting behind the wheel, Halloween can be a scary night to be a pedestrian. A 2018 study conducted by JAMA Pediatrics found that 43 percent more pedestrians are killed on Halloween than on any other autumn night.

“Halloween can be a dangerous time for trick-or-treaters, as the excitement of the evening and collecting candy can get in the way of being safe near cars,” says Jennifer Cook, a senior communications manager with AAA Washington. “A little preparation to make costumes safer and a review of safety best practices can keep your child stay safe this Halloween.”

She offers the following tips for how to keep your trick-or-treaters safe while they’re out on the candy hunt.

kids in costumes sorting candy

Make or buy your child’s costume with safety in mind:

  • Keep your tot’s costume frightful yet functional — avoid tripping hazards such as overly long capes or precariously high heels that kids aren’t used to wearing.
  • Rather than masks (which might obstruct vision), use nontoxic face paint to create a unique and fun look.
  • Apply strips of reflective tape to costumes to reflect light from vehicle headlights.
  • Put a glow stick or flashlight into treat buckets to increase visibility.

Make a trick-or-treat safety plan:

  1. Discuss and agree upon the route and return time with your little monsters.
  2. Review traffic safety best practices, such as looking both ways before crossing the street, using sidewalks and crosswalks (and what to do if crosswalks aren’t available on their route), not darting out between vehicles, and how to detect how fast a vehicle is moving to determine if you have enough time to safely cross the street.
  3. Instruct kids to only stop at well-lit houses and never enter a stranger’s home or garage.
  4. Get in on the skele-fun and plan to chaperone your children.
  5. Keep your own walkway and front door area well-lit and trip-hazard-free for the children who visit your haunted mansion.

If you’ll be on the road this Halloween, remember these pointers:

  • Stay alert! Children may not pay attention to traffic and might be wearing dark costumes that are difficult to see.
  • Drive with caution and slow down, especially in residential neighborhoods after dusk where excited children may dash out into the street.
  • Never drink or get high and drive. Designate a sober driver for the night.
  • If you have a teen attending festivities with their peers, reassure them that they can call you if they can’t find a safe way to get home.

Note: This article was furnished by AAA. Creeping it real and safe on All Hallows’ Eve makes sure everyone has a ghostly good time. To support Halloween and pedestrian safety, AAA stores in Washington and northern Idaho offer free trick-or-treat bags. 

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