Halloween is a fun, festive and memorable holiday for adults and children alike. Pumpkin carving, candied apples, adorable ghosts and goblins, and trick or treating make Halloween a traditional family favorite.
Unfortunately, Halloween is also one of the most dangerous nights of the year for pedestrians, especially children. Consider the following statistics:
- When Halloween falls on a weekend, traffic fatalities jump by almost 30%.
- According to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 84% of pedestrian (child) fatalities on Halloween occurred at non-intersections. This highlights the importance of instructing children not to run across streets, jaywalk or dart suddenly into traffic.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that most pedestrian/automobile accidents happen between the hours of 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Drivers must be extra vigilant during those prime trick or treating hours.
- Centers for Disease Control statics state that the number of deaths among pedestrians ages 5-14 is FOUR TIMES HIGHER on Halloween than on any other day of the year.
Halloween: A Dangerous Night for Pedestrians
Tips for Keeping Halloween Safe and Fun
Halloween can remain a treat for all ages if adults and kids follow a few simple rules. We must keep children, pedestrians and other motorists safe on Halloween.
Here are a few tips and commonsense rules to follow:
- Make sure your trick or treater is visible by giving them a flashlight or glow stick, attaching reflective tape to their costumes and candy buckets, and choosing bright, easy to see costumes. (Ninja costumes are cool, but a child dressed in black or dark clothing is extremely hard to see.)
- Adults should accompany trick or treaters. (Yes, even those preteens who are convinced they are infallible STILL need adult supervision while trick or treating.)
- Instruct children not to run, jaywalk or dart between houses or across streets. Plan a trick or treating route before you leave the house, and stick to it!
- Choose costumes that allow your child to see – masks, helmets, wigs and other Halloween costume accouterments can make it very difficult for children to see traffic and cross streets safely.
- Make sure your child’s costume is flame resistant, and that they are wearing sturdy shoes. Halloween is not the time to teach your little princess how to walk in heels, no matter how darling they look with her Cinderella costume!
- Don’t let kids eat candy until you have had a chance to inspect it. Visit houses in a trusted neighborhood.
- Remind children that they should NEVER go inside a home when trick or treating unless they have your permission.
- Buckle up! Don’t let the excitement of Halloween festivities distract you from normal vehicle safety procedures. If you are driving your children between neighborhoods, make sure all the passengers are properly buckled in.
- Drive Slowly: Don’t count on kids to “look both ways” before they cross the street while trick or treating. Be extra cautious, because excited trick or treaters (often wearing dark, hard to see costumes) may dart across the street unexpectedly.
- Remind kids never to cross in the middle of the street or between parked cars.
- Trick or treat as a group: even older children need at least one adult to supervise them.
- Cross as few busy streets as possible (make this a priority when planning your trick or treating route), and make sure your children have a basic idea of where your group is headed in case you are inadvertently separated.
- Drive Sober: Almost one-third of all traffic-related motor vehicle deaths are caused by drivers who are impaired by alcohol. Don’t risk anyone’s safety on Halloween (or any other time) by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The personal injury team at Hardy, Wolf, and Downing want you and your family to have a safe, happy and healthy Halloween! We can accomplish this as a community, across the beautiful state of Maine, if we remain committed to safety. Let’s keep Halloween a true treat, a time for making magical memories that will last your children a lifetime.