Halloween is next week, which will bring an abundance of little costumed creatures out to trick-or-treat into the dark evening hours.
Awareness is key to keep the spooky night a safe, fun event for all. Kids should dress appropriately and follow basic safety rules while navigating their neighborhoods through Manatee and Sarasota counties. Motorists should be alert to the potential increase in pedestrian traffic.
Reader’s Digest shares some ways to elevate the visibility of — and minimize potential injury to — those out in costume:
- Apply reflective tape to your child’s costume to maximize visibility to others.
- Carry a flashlight to keep your child’s path lit at all times.
- Long costumes that drag on the ground can be dangerous, especially at night. Consequently, after purchasing your child’s costume, make sure it’s an appropriate length. Hem anything that’s too long to avoid tripping.
- Masks and hats that might impede clear vision also should be used with caution. Props that could affect a child’s ability to maneuver should therefore be modified or left at home to reduce the risk of injury.
- When the gathering is done and it’s time to assess the loot, check your child’s candy. Discard anything that looks like it has been opened or is not in its original wrapper.
Pedestrian safety on Halloween
Being a smart pedestrian is also crucial on Halloween night, whether you’re ringing doorbells around your neighborhood in Venice or haunting your Lakewood Ranch cul-de-sac. SafeKids suggests crossing the street at corners and in crosswalks and following traffic signals. Looking both directions before crossing – and checking while crossing – intersections will promote safe passage.
More ways to walk safely:
- Put electronic devices down and keep heads up, and walk, don’t run, across the street.
- Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children never to dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
Drive extra safely on Halloween
The onus to preserve safety is not just on the trick-or-treater. SafeKids advises that popular trick-or-treating hours are from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., therefore drivers should be alert during these hours, especially in residential neighborhoods. Operators of motor vehicles should drive slowly and be prepared for excitable groups of children that may move unpredictably.
Other ways to be a mindful motorist:
- Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
- Turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
A night of fun could turn frightful quickly, but following a few simple suggestions can keep everyone safe and leave the spooking to the costumed characters.