Halloween is supposed to be fun, and we tend to disparage those who caution us to be safe while trick-or-treating or driving on this frightfully joyous day and night.
It’s an unpleasant job being a killjoy, but since somebody has to do it …
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that children are four times more likely to be hit by a vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that Halloween is usually one of the top three days each year for pedestrian injuries and fatalities.
People who throw eggs at passing cars are just stupid and thoughtless to the harm that a vision-obstructed driver can cause. But most of the harm done to kids and adults occurs by accident.
Please take note of these driving tips from the National Safety Council:
• Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.
• Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.
• Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
• At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.
The NSC has this advice for parents:
• Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for children younger than 12.
• Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow. Know the names of older children’s companions.
• Instruct your children to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route.
• Teach your children to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lighted and never to enter a stranger’s home.
• Establish a return time.
• Tell your youngsters not to eat any treat until they return home.
• Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian-traffic safety rules.
• Pin a slip of paper with the child’s name, address and phone number inside a pocket in case the youngster gets separated from the group.
• Make sure children’s costumes use only fire-retardant material.
Travelers, an insurance provider, recommends using battery-operated candles, but if you’re going to put candles inside jack-o’-lanterns, make certain they are away from curtains, trees or combustible decorations. A multipurpose fire extinguisher is a good idea, given how easily candles can be knocked over by children or pets.
The insurer also frowns on “tricking” trick-or-treaters when they come to your door. Frightening kids can lead to slips, trips or falls … and maybe even a lawsuit.
Let’s keep in mind that the only really fun Halloween is a safe Halloween.