Safety tips for Halloween

By Jan Snyder -

Halloween poses risks for children and motorists.

Trick-or-treaters often forget about safety, so adults need to be on the lookout. On All Hallows’ Eve, research shows that children are more than twice as likely to be struck by a vehicle and killed than on any other night of the year. Making Halloween a real treat for everyone isn’t hard, and you don’t need to be a wizard to accomplish it. All it takes is some extra precautions on the part of motorists and parents.

“Because excited trick-or-treaters often forget about safety, motorists and parents must be even more alert,” said AAA East Central Safety Advisor, Terri Rae Anthony. “Motorists should watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs. In dark costumes, they’ll be harder to see at night,” she added.

This Halloween, AAA offers these simple tricks:

Trick-or-treat together: AAA recommends that parents accompany young trick-or-treaters at least until age 12

Choose costumes wisely: Make sure your child is visible by selecting a light colored costume, or by adding reflective tape

Choose disguises that don’t obstruct vision and opt for non-toxic face paint instead of masks. Adjust the length of costumes to avoid tripping

Stay on the sidewalk: Always walk on sidewalks, if available. If there are no sidewalks, walk as far to the left of the road as possible, facing traffic

Shine a light: Give everyone a glow stick or flashlight to help them see and be seen by drivers

Cross with caution: Cross streets only at the corner, and never between parked cars or mid-block. Be sure that approaching cars come to a complete stop before stepping into the roadway

Put down the devices: Parents and children should look up and pay attention to their surroundings while walking. Texting and social media can wait. If you need to use your cell phone, walk to a safe area away from the street before doing so

Check the treats: Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items

Watch for children: Watch for trick-or-treaters walking on roadways, medians and curbs. They may not be paying attention to traffic and cross the street mid-block or between cars

The Record-Herald and the Fayette County Agricultural Society is offering an alternative to walking your children down the street. The community is inviting the community to join them at the annual Beggar’s Night Boonanza.

Both organizations are encouraging residents to bring their own little ghosts and goblins to enjoy an evening of trick-or-treating at the event. It will take place at the Mahan Building on the Fayette County Fairgrounds on tonight from 5 until 7 p.m. While there, children will be greeted by many costumed characters who just might be willing to part with a few pieces of their candy.

“This is a safe alternative to walking down the streets on Beggar’s Night,” said Record-Herald General Manager Kimberly Lyons-Penwell. “This offers a place that is safe from the elements outside and you don’t have to worry about checking the candy, because it comes from area businesses. You don’t have to worry about your kids running around in the streets either. This is the safe and fun alternative.”

Halloween has also become an increasingly popular holiday for adults to dress up and host, or attend parties. While the trick is to have fun, it’s no treat to learn the scary facts: fifty-eight percent of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. on Halloween night last year involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or higher, which is illegal in every state.

Fatal injuries from motor vehicle crashes rise nearly 50 percent when Halloween falls on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Nearly 40 percent of fatal crashes on Halloween night involve a drunk driver; and one-third of Halloween crash fatalities involve a pedestrian. The combination of drinking and increased pedestrian traffic on Halloween night has been a deadly combination in past years.

Keep the following in mind while out on Oct. 31:

Designate a sober driver in advance. If intending to drink alcohol, plan ahead to get home safely by selecting a designated driver or ensuring cab service is available from the party location. Never ride with a driver who has been drinking

Consider an overnight stay. If attending a party at a friend’s home, consider asking to stay overnight. If participating in festivities in a downtown or commercial area, look into hotel accommodations within walking distance.

Do not let impaired guests drive. If hosting a Halloween party, remind guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver, offer alcohol-free beverages and do not allow impaired guests to drive. Prepare a list of local taxi companies in advance to have ready should guests need to call one.

By Jan Snyder

Reach Jan Snyder at 740-313-0354 or on Twitter @RecordHeraldJan.

Reach Jan Snyder at 740-313-0354 or on Twitter @RecordHeraldJan.