Halloween Safety Tips
HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS: SMART MOVES ON AMERICA’S SCARIEST NIGHT
With all the costume parties, the roving trick-or-treaters, the monster movie marathons and more, Halloween can be one of the most entertaining nights of the year. What’s not to like about free candy?
Yet most people don’t realize that Halloween can also be one of the most hazardous nights of the year. Many cities see a spike in vandalism, theft, and other crimes. Children in dark costumes on poorly lit streets present one kind of challenge, and adults who’ve partied too much before getting behind the wheel present another.
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 on any other date of the year.
Property crime is also a problem — not just the pumpkin-smashing vandalism of rampaging tricksters, 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 and treaters or because the residents are partying elsewhere, but the lack of light encourages burglars and vandals. Home security experts recommend leaving some lights on if you’re not at home, and not leaving anything valuable in plain view in your house or car. Motion-activated security lights outside the home are a great way to discourage prowlers, too.
If your Halloween plans take you away from home, don’t announce your absence on social media. If you haven’t already put your portable summer grill and other outdoor gear into storage, the end of October is a good time to tidy up the yard and lock up such equipment in the garage.
If you are staying home, make sure you’re prepared to receive trick-or-treaters safely. Walkways should be well-lit and free of obstacles. Pets should be out of the way. Although elaborate Halloween decorations seem to be gaining popularity, 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 PARENTS TRICK-OR-TREATING WITH KIDS
If you are accompanying a younger set of trick-or-treaters (age 12 or younger), remember that visibility is a major concern. Plan a safe route, stay on sidewalks and out of the roadway, 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’ houses.
Also, for your own peace of mind, 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 any suspicious or spoiled items, choking hazards, or allergens. (Our previous post on safe Halloween candy can help you identify the problems.)
Costume Safety Tips
- Bright colors and flame retardant materials are best
- Consider using reflective tape on costumes to make them easier to see after dark
- Sharp or cumbersome accessories (swords, wands, etc.) and awkward footwear (high heels or over-sized shoes) should be avoided
- Face-paint is preferable to heavy masks that could make it difficult tot see- and easy to fall.
- Be sure your child is dressed appropriately under the costume for the weather
Driving Safety Tips
Statistically, children are twice as likely to be hit by a vehicle on Halloween as on any other day of the year. With so many young people on the streets from twilight until well into the evening, it makes sense to turn on your headlights 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 you’ve established a designated driver in advance.
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