Kids and adults alike love Halloween. It's spooky, it's fun and trick-or-treating signals the start of the holiday season. Nonetheless, from candy to costumes, trick-or-treating can pose logistical problems for parents with young children. Although Halloween is meant to be a fun holiday for children, it can only be fun if it is also a safe holiday. According to statistics provided by Safe Ride 4 Kids, children are four times more likely to be struck by a car on Halloween than any other night of the year. In fact, auto-pedestrian collisions result in double the number of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween. Even though scary holiday warnings regarding tainted candy make headlines, statistically speaking poor visibility and jaywalking top the list of Halloween dangers.
Red Cross Safety Tips to Keep Trick-or-Treat Safe
In anticipation of a late-night sugar spike, kids are already bouncing off the walls as they prepare to attack area neighborhoods collecting tons of candy and other treats. The tips below will help ensure your tricksters enjoy a safe holiday:
- Make sure trick-or-treaters are easily seen.
- Use face makeup instead of masks to ensure kids can see.
- Costumes and accessories should be made of fire-retardant materials.
- Plan your Halloween route in advance.
- Give kids a flashlight or glow sticks to light their way.
- Avoid distractions. Put all electronics away while trick-or-treating.
- Be cautious around animals as it can be a scary night for them too.
- No running. Make your group walk and stay together.
- For older children, consider using a GPS tracking device.
- Accept treats at the door and never go inside someone's home.
- Use the sidewalks and avoid walking in the street.
- Make sure a parent or grown-up checks the "stash" before the children are allowed to eat the goodies.
- Never cross streets between parked cars. Use crosswalks.
- Remember to look in both directions before crossing any roadway.
It is important to use common sense when trick-or-treating. Only go to people's homes that are decorated and well-lit, indicating that they are participating in the holiday. Avoid cutting across people's lawns and instruct your trick-or-treaters to be polite and say "thank you".
What You Give Out and What Your Kids Get
You want to make sure roaming ghosts and goblins are safe when they visit your home. When the porch light at a home is left on, trick-or-treaters are considered invitees. In such instances, a homeowner owes these roaming candy seekers the level of reasonable care determined by "ordinary negligence". As such, the homeowner must provide adequate lighting and warn pedestrians of hazards, such as damage to walkways or steps. On the other hand, a homeowner who leaves their porch light off has not invited trick-or-treaters onto their property and their duty of care falls under "gross negligence". Unfortunately, avoidable injuries can occur on Halloween when a homeowner decides to become prankster and seeks to scare the "trick" out of the neighborhood kids. Depending on the facts surrounding an injury, the homeowner may have inadvertently breached their duty and may be legally liable for damages.
This Holiday Season, we recommend that homeowners, parents, and kids alike use common sense, stay alert, and work hard to keep this fun time of year safe for everyone.