Halloween Tips To Keep Your Night Safe & Spooky
Halloween is a fun time for both kids and their parents, and hazards surrounding the holiday can be avoided with a little preparation and caution.
Various studies have shown that fatal accidents involving children crossing streets increase four and a half times on Halloween night. Kameg says many kids are also under the misconception that on Halloween, drivers are watching out for them.
“If you see something suspicious, contact local law enforcement,” said Keith Kameg with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. “Groups are a good thing, but go over a plan with your child.”
Safety tips are fairly basic: light-colored costumes that are flame-retardant with glow-in-the-dark tape; face paint or makeup instead of masks, and, says John Dosh at Escambia County Emergency Management, watch out for that traffic.
“All of this occurs after dark,” said Dosh. “And although we want to wear dark clothing on Halloween, it’s important that you wear some sort of reflective material on the Halloween costume, so any cars that are out and about might be able to see the kids.”
Once again this year, the Pensacola Police Department is handing out glow-in-the-dark dog tags for kids to wear on their costumes. The tags, purchased with confiscated drug money, have a battery life of eight hours, and can blink at different speeds.
Adults should accompany children under age ten on their rounds, and make sure that older kids going out on their own know their home phone number and how to call 911. Dosh says it’s also a good idea to stay in familiar areas and only go to houses that have on their porch lights.
Law enforcement agencies mandate that registered sex offenders place “No Candy at This Residence” signs in their yards. Those houses are to be avoided without exception.
But trick-or-treating is not the only activity that carries hazards. Brad Baker at Santa Rosa Emergency Management says adults need to supervise younger children in others, such as pumpkin-carving.
“You want to make sure that they don’t slip up and stab themselves or cut themselves with a knife,” Baker says. “Don’t be reaching inside the pumpkin when they’re carving it. A lot of people like to put a candle inside, then you have the potential for fire.”
Churches, schools and other organizations hold annual Halloween events or “Fall Festivals” for kids of all ages. Many consider them a safer alternative to trick-or-treating at night. And when everyone returns home with their haul, Brad Baker says nobody should begin snacking until the candy gets a thorough inspection.
“Make sure there are no puncture spots. Make sure the candy’s not open and if any of it is open, or any indication that someone’s tampered with it they need to throw it away,” said Baker. “Depending on the size of the child, hard candy is a potential choke hazard.”
Parents are not immune to the dangers of Halloween. For those coming from Halloween parties where alcohol is consumed – a designated driver or another ride home is in order. Also, drivers are urged to stay off mobile phones and avoid texting while behind the wheel.