On Halloween eve, as the sun sets, little ghosts, ghouls and witches (or likely, Buzz Lightyears, Spidermen, and Disney princesses) take to the streets, unaware of the dangers around them. For moms and dads, driving on Halloween can be a nerve-wracking experience navigating an area with trick-or-treaters.
Every child under age 12 should be accompanied by a responsible adult, but many are not. If you plan on driving through any neighborhoods with trick-or-treaters, be very cautious.
- Drive slowly. Halloween is a time of excitement and anticipation for children. Remember that adults may be distracted by a car-full of sugar-charged kids and may forget to watch the road for oncoming vehicles.
- Be patient and take your time. Expect to stop frequently as youngsters run from house to house or as families prepare to cross the street.
- Go around. Use alternate routes that will take you around, rather than through busy neighborhoods, to reduce potential risks of driving near trick-or-treaters.
- Stay alert. Trick-or-treaters may be dressed entirely in black, making them virtually impossible to spot. Slow down and scan the area around your car carefully.
- Beware of cars transporting trick-or-treaters. A growing trend in recent years involves parents driving their children from house to house, pulling up to each driveway and waiting while their children run to the door and back. If you are behind one of these vehicles, do not pass it quickly or without carefully checking the area as you move forward slowly. The vehicle may block your view of children that are running towards another house or across the street. (Note: C’mon mom and dad! Get out of your car and get some exercise, stay close to your kids, and save gas and the environment!)
- Ensure that costumes are safe: cut the length of costumes to avoid tripping, and ensure edges on props are smooth and blunt; shoes should be worn at all times. Do a test run of make-up and masks to avoid potential allergic reactions or visual/breathing impairments.
- Take a flashlight with you and arm the younger ones with glow sticks, glow bracelets or small lights to make them more visible. Use your flashlight to illuminate the way to front doors.
- Keep a close eye on jack-o-lanterns with candles and make sure no one gets too close, especially those with long wigs or costumes.
- Teach your children (or the children you’ll be accompanying) the basics of pedestrian safety and the importance of being aware of strangers.
If your child suffers from food allergies, diabetes—or you just prefer to avoid candy altogether—consider offering your child a toy or a game in exchange for the majority of their candy. Most kids will gladly relinquish a bag of sugar for a new toy or the promise of a special outing.
If passing out handfuls of sugar, artificial flavors and colors and chemical stabilizers just doesn’t sound appealing, most party stores sell fun little toys and trinkets in bulk. For instance, this year, we are handing out fun-size containers of Play-Dough. (If any happens to be leftover, we will certainly make use of it!) Kids also love temporary tattoos and glow sticks, so load up on fun stuff and your neighborhood kids won’t be disappointed.
Halloween should be fun. With a little precaution and patience, it can be an evening that is safe for everyone.
Some of the above tips were produced by writer Dawn McCaslin for Geico. For more information on Halloween safety, consider the following websites: