Make Halloween a Night for Treats, Not Tragedies

Children trick-or treating walking on lighted sidewalk

TAMPA, FL (Sept. 18, 2019) – Halloween is the time of year for tricks and treats, costumes and sweets. But this night of spooky fun for your little ghouls and goblins also can be filled with potential dangers. 

Pedestrian safety tops the Halloween hazard list. Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than the rest of the year, making it one of the most dangerous days for child pedestrians.  

“Both drivers and caregivers need to be aware that a large number of excited kids running from house to house and crossing streets during nighttime hours could lead to a tragedy,” said Michelle Sterling, St. Joseph’s Children’s Wellness and Safety expert. “It’s important for parents and caregivers to remind their trick-or-treaters about walking safely and sharing the road with drivers before they leave their house.”
 
Sterling suggests that kids carry flashlights or glow sticks, use reflective trick-or-treat bags or have reflective tape on their costumes, and use face paint instead of masks, which can make it hard for kids to see where they’re going.

“Typically, children under age 12 should not trick-or-treat without adult supervision,” said Sterling. “If kids are mature enough to go trick-or-treating without supervision, make sure they stick to a predetermined route with good lighting.”
 
St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital reminds parents of the following tips for keeping kids safe:

For Costume Safety, Use:

  • Light or bright colors
  • Flame-resistant material
  • Reflective tape
  • Non-toxic face makeup rather than masks
  • Small, flexible costume props
  • Shoes that fit
  • Tags with the child’s name, address and phone number
  • Costumes not made of flimsy or billowy material, which can cause children to trip

For Safe Trick-Or-Treating:

  • Have an adult accompany children
  • Carry a flashlight
  • Stop at street corners
  • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street
  • Never walk between parked cars
  • Walk on well-lit sidewalks and paths
  • Never cut across yards
  • Stop only at houses with outside lights on
  • Carefully check treats before letting children eat them

Driving Safely on Halloween:

  • Be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic on and near the road.
  • Take extra time to actively look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. 
  • Remember that costumes can limit children’s visibility and they may not be able to see your vehicle.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully. 
  • Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and pedestrians.

A Safe Home Front for trick-or-treaters:

  • Put away anything trick-or-treaters could trip over, such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations. 
  • Turn the lights on to ensure good visibility at your door and the walkway leading up to it. 
  • Control your pets. 
  • Instead of sugary treats, consider handing out healthier snacks such as individual packs of raisins, trail mix or pretzels, or items such as stickers, Play-Doh, glittery pencils or rubber insects.