Halloween is supposed to be a time of tricks, treats and family fun. Don’t let injuries spoil your good times. Follow these safety tips for your family:
- Travel in a pack – like werewolves. Children should never trick or treat without at least one adult. Remind older kids to watch out for the little ones.
- Who you gonna call? Give kids a cell phone for the night even if they don’t normally carry one, and make sure they know how to use it. In a neighborhood packed with roaming hyper-excited kids, it’s easy to get separated. And, identifying your group of children is more difficult since they are in costumes. A cell phone with your home number programmed in will give you peace of mind if your little ghost floats off.
- Scream and run! Instruct your kids that it’s ok to make a scene if a stranger asks them to get into their car. Younger children especially may be scared to disobey an adult, so teach them when it’s right to scream and run.
- All the better to see you with. If your child’s costume has a mask, you can almost bet that the eyeholes need to be adjusted. Have your child put on the mask and then do a quick test of what they can see. They should be able to see not only straight ahead but also to the right and left corners. If they can’t see all directions, cut the holes a bit larger.
- Cast an eerie glow. Make sure your child’s costume is visible at night. Wear at least one article of light-colored clothing, and add reflective tape to your costume. Put glow-bracelets on wrists and ankles of children and even accompanying adults. Every trick-or-treater should carry their own flashlight. If you make your own costumes, be sure to use light bright material. If your child has carry-along props like a sword or broom, make sure there are no sharp edges that may cut them. Since many costumes are made to fit a wide range of kids, the length might be too long for shorter kids and therefore a tripping hazard. Trim the bottom so it hits ankle level or above.
- You can run but you can’t hide. Crossing the street is one of the most dangerous parts of of trick-or-treating. Kids get excited and forget to stop before stepping into the street. Remind kids that corners and crosswalks are the safest places to cross, and that looking both ways is required. Tell them running in the street is not a good idea, and to save that for the playground.
- I want candy. Let your kids know that they have to wait until you have checked their candy before they can start eating it. And what a great time to remind your children that sharing is caring! Homemade treats should be thrown away unless you know the neighbor who gave it to you very, very, very well. Take along an extra plastic grocery bag for each child, in case their sack gets too heavy to carry.
- In the dark of night. Children often don’t think of traffic safety on Halloween night. Remember in residential areas to drive extra slow, and be aware of children darting between cars and across alley and laneways.
- Haunted house at home. If the party is at your castle, make sure your homeowners’ insurance is in force to cover any guests. Check with your insurance agent if you are not sure what events or accidents are covered. Also, if alcohol is served make sure that there is a designated driver or other safe options for people to get home. Don’t drink and drive.
- Scarey Stats. According to ICBC, based on a five year average (2005-2009) there are 290 car accident crashes and 110 injuries in the lower mainland between 3 pm and midnight on Halloween days.
For more stats and Halloween safety see ICBC.
Reprinted by permission by Cari Bashaw, Carr & Carr Attorneys