Halloween is supposed to be a night of fun, fright, and treats. However, it is also a time where parents and children need to exercise extra caution. On average, more children are struck by vehicles on Halloween night, and that is only one of the risks out there during peak trick-or-treating hours.
Therefore, as a parent or someone that plans to enjoy the holiday thoroughly, you should be aware of the risks. You should also how to practice a safe Halloween so that you do not spend it in the emergency room.
Essential Safety Tips for a Fun, Spooky, Halloween Night
The only frights you want to experience this Halloween are those from your local haunted house – not getting five stitches across your forehead.
To get the most out of your Halloween, here are a few must-know safety tips:
- Parents provide adult supervision during trick-or-treating. While your child might not think it is cool to have an adult supervising, trick-or-treating can be dangerous for young children without an adult present. There is no reason for a child under 12 to be out alone on Halloween night. You can make it less awkward for your soon-to-be teen by making it a group effort. Get a few friends together and have a parent (or two) serve as the chaperone. That way, your child does not feel like he or she is trick-or-treating with their parents alone, but you still have your eyes on them.
- Bring a cellphone just in case of an emergency. Never leave home without a cellphone. While costumes might make it difficult to tuck away a phone, you might need it. For older children going out on their own, make sure they take their phones and check in regularly – just not while they are driving a car.
- Inspect candy and do not let your child eat it until you have. While the instances of tainted candy are extremely rare, you should still be proactive about checking your child’s candy, just in case. Any candy that is not age-appropriate (such as taffy, hard candy, or gum) should be discarded from younger children’s bags. Homemade treats from people you do not know and any open treats should be discarded.
- Opt for bright, visible costumes that everyone can see. If you can, purchase a costume that is bright and easily seen even in the dark. If your child insists on a dark, dreary costume, add reflective tape to the back of them while they are trick-or-treating so that they stay visible to cars. Do not rely on flashlights and streetlights alone to make them stand out. You can also give them a few glow sticks that work as a costume accent, but they are also another way to promote visibility to drivers.
- Pick costumes that fit right and are safe to wear. Unfortunately, costumes today are not custom-made, which means there will be parts of the costume that don’t fit your children correctly. Pin back and roll whatever would be too long and pose a tripping hazard for your child. Also, make sure they cannot become entangled in their costume. If the costume has a mask, make sure it does not block vision or consider using face paint and makeup over the use of a mask. If your child is wearing a cape or wig, make sure that it has a tag indicating it is flame-resistant. Otherwise, rethink letting them wear it.
- Consider Halloween makeup with caution. Halloween makeup products might be cheap and not safe for all skin types. Your child or you could have an allergic reaction. Furthermore, some Halloween makeup products are not non-toxic. Therefore, read the label carefully and keep it away from a small child that might ingest it. Before you and your children go to bed, regardless of how tired you are, remove the makeup. This keeps it from getting in the eyes and also reduces the chances it will absorb into the skin.
- Paint and color pumpkins instead of carving. While carving is a time-honored tradition, you can change it up and have your child paint or color their pumpkin instead. Not only does it mean less mess, but it reduces the risk of yourself or your children accidentally cutting themselves while trying to cut out the chunks of pumpkin.
- Keep safety in mind when decorating your home for Halloween. While you decorate the interior and exterior of your house, consider safety for all decorations. Avoid the use of a live candle anywhere in or outside of the home. These can easily be knocked over and lead to serious fires. Make sure your steps and pathways are clear and well-lit. While it might ruin part of the haunted house appeal, you do not want a child or adult tripping and seriously injuring themselves on your property – otherwise, you could be liable for their injuries.
- Be aware of the risks for pranks and vandalism on Halloween night. Unfortunately, children and adults tend to find that it is okay to engage in pranks or outright vandalism on Halloween. If you are going away for the night, put away your pumpkins so that no one is tempted to throw them at your house or someone else. Also, turn lights on so it still looks like you are home – even if you are gone. Use outdoor motion-sensor lights on the rear and front of the property as well. These often deter people from coming any closer when the light shines on them.
- Use extra caution as you drive. No matter if you are driving a few blocks or a few miles, you need extra caution on Halloween night. There are numerous people out on the road and much more pedestrians than you would be used to. Be cautious of the chaos, look for pedestrians in and outside of the crosswalk, and also be cautious when passing parked vehicles – a common place for small children to run out into the street.
- Make sure you do not drink and drive. Halloween is a high-risk night for DUIs and DUI-related accidents. If you plan to drink, get a designated driver instead of driving yourself. Not only will you avoid the risk of being arrested for a DUI, but you can protect yourself from being involved in an accident and found at-fault because of your intoxication.
- Set times for the entire family to return home. Regardless of age and normal curfew rules, everyone in the family should have a curfew on Halloween night. Most of the time, Halloween falls on a school or work night, so plan a time that allows everyone to go out and have fun but also return home with enough time to get ready for the next day.
- Only trick-or-treat in neighborhoods you know. Avoid venturing into neighborhoods that you are unfamiliar with. If you are meeting with family and friends and trick-or-treating in their neighborhood, make sure they know the houses they are going to.
- Avoid distractions while walking or driving. Distracted driving and walking on Halloween can be deadly. No one needs to have out their electronic devices. Instead, pay attention to the road ahead and what is going on around you.
- Create a route for older children going out alone. Establish a set route for older children who are trick-or-treating without adult supervision. That way, if you need to find them, you can follow the agreed upon route and catch up with them.
- Be careful when exiting garages, driveways, and alleys. With so many people on the road, be cautious when you back out of your driveway, garage, or even pull into traffic. Always anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and use headlights during sunset so that people see your vehicle easier.
- Know the essential hours on Halloween night. The prime hours for trick-or-treating go from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Therefore, if you are driving, be extra cautious during these hours.
What Happens If You Are Injured on Halloween?
Even the safest person might be the victim of an accident – after all, you cannot control everyone else on the road with you.
Whether you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, pedestrian accident, or your child is hurt, you have rights. First, seek medical treatment immediately after the accident. Doing so can prevent further injury and help prevent any medical complications.
After seeking medical treatment, contact an attorney that has experience with your type of injury case. If you know the party that caused the accident or incident (such as a driver of the car that hit you or the owner of the home where you tripped and fell), this will make it easier to file a claim. An attorney will contact the at-fault party or their attorney to start the process.
You may need to file a lawsuit against the party if they are unwilling to negotiate a fair settlement. While you are recovering from an injury, the last thing you need is to worry about insurance companies and attorneys. Therefore, hiring an injury advocate early will be beneficial.