Costume parties, roving Disney and superhero characters, monster movie marathons, free candy — for many of us, Halloween can be one of the most entertaining celebrations of the year.
Unfortunately, Halloween is also one of the most hazardous nights of the year. Many cities see a spike in vandalism, theft, and other crimes. Drivers need to be on high alert for the dangers posed by children in dark costumes on poorly lit streets, as well as other risks stemming from adults who’ve partied too much before getting behind the wheel.
Here are some suggestions for keeping your loved ones and your property safe so you can enjoy the celebration.
PROTECTING YOUR HOME: THEFT, VANDALISM, ACCIDENTS, AND PETS
Maybe it’s because people are wearing masks and imbibing pumpkin-spiced adult beverages, but Halloween sees an uptick in misbehavior of all kinds. One study found that violent crime in Boston went up significantly during the evening hours of October 31 over a four-year period—nearly double the average number of incidents, and 50 percent higher than any other date of the year.
Property crime is also a problem—not just a little vandalism by pranksters, but home burglaries and car thefts, too. According to a report on NerdWallet, “crime-related insurance claims spike by 24% on Halloween, more than on any other day of the year.”
Many of these offenses are crimes of opportunity. Homes are often kept dark to discourage trick-or-treaters or because the occupants are out on the town, but the lack of light encourages burglars. Home security experts recommend leaving some lights on if you’re not home and installing motion-activated lights outside the home to dissuade prowlers. If your Halloween plans do take you away from home, don’t announce your absence on social media.
If you are staying home, make sure you’re prepared to receive trick-or-treaters. Walkways should be well-lit and free of obstacles. Pets should be out of the way. If you have elaborate decorations, make sure they’re not so overwhelming that people could trip on them or that they block your view of who’s at your door.
SAFETY TIPS FOR TRICK-OR-TREATING
If you are accompanying a younger set of trick-or-treaters (age 12 or under), remember that visibility is a major concern. Plan a safe route, stay on sidewalks, hand out flashlights and keep the group together. Unaccompanied older children should have an established curfew, a cell phone, and ground rules about not going into strangers’ homes. The National Safety Council has these costume safety tips:
- Bright colors and flame-retardant materials are best
- Face paint is preferable to heavy masks that make it hard to see
- Use reflective tape on costumes to make them easier to see after dark
- Avoid sharp or cumbersome accessories, such as swords, wands, or high heels
- Be sure your child is addressed appropriately for the weather under the costume
Also, be sure to set rules about not snacking on the candy haul before the rounds are finished. That way you can sift through the candy at home, weeding out suspicious or spoiled items, choking hazards, or allergens. (Our post on safe Halloween candy can help you identify the problems.)
DRIVING SAFETY TIPS
Statistically, children are twice as likely to be hit by a vehicle on Halloween as any other day of the year. With so many young people on the streets from twilight until well into the evening, it’s a good idea to turn your headlights on early, proceed cautiously on residential streets, and be on the lookout for kids who may bolt from between parked cars or not see you coming because of costumes that impair peripheral vision.
If you’re headed for a party where alcohol will be served, make sure that you’ve established a designated driver in advance — and watch out for those on the road who didn’t. If you encounter someone you suspect is driving drunk, don’t hesitate to report them to law enforcement, by calling 911, *DUI or *CSP, and do your part to make the roads a little less scary this Halloween.
THE CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS AT FDAZAR
For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora, Thornton, Fort Collins, Greeley, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a bus, car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call the car accident attorneys at FDAzar day or night at (800)716-9032 or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.