Personal-injury risks scarily skyrocket on Halloween. The holiday of haunts and hijinks enjoyed by trick-or-treating children and party-planning adults is a chronic cause of accidents, fires and safety threats.
For weeks, little ones have looked forward to donning their costumes and going door-to-door to collect candy from their neighbors. Likewise, grown-ups getting into the festivities have been dressing up their houses and yards in assorted orange and black decorations while whipping up batches of witches’ brew for their ghoulish gatherings. Granted, everyone should have fun Oct. 31, so with that in mind, here are some suggestions to stay out of harm’s way.
“On average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than other days of the year.” So says a fact sheet by Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization dedicated to reducing personal-injury risks in children.
Masks make it more difficult to see immediate surroundings, including cars coming toward crosswalks. Dark conditions make it even more difficult. All children should be chaperoned while trick-or-treating to prevent needless accidents. They should walk, not run, stay on the sidewalk, not on the street, and never pass between parked cars.
Tripping and falling while in costume is all too common. Capes, gowns, sheets and textiles that are big and bulky are unnatural, and they can be stepped on by the superheroes, princesses, ghosts and monsters themselves, as well as other children.
Ideally, costumes should be shorter rather than longer, and sturdy shoes should be worn. “Mother’s high heels are not a good idea for safe walking,” according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Costume accessories like shield and swords should be soft, not sharp.
Another tip for costume-wearers: Opt for bright as opposed to dark colors, but they are dark, fasten reflective tape to both the front and back to make them more visible.
Candles and costumes don’t mix. Avoid open flames, and use LED candles instead. The selection of LED candles is impressive; they look like the real thing, down to the dripping wax. Miniature flashlights can be a substitute for candles in jack-o’-lanterns.
Halloween parties involve cooking – plus bubbling cauldrons of the aforementioned witches’ brew – another cause of fires. Use extreme caution in the kitchen when preparing foods and drinks so you not only keep your house from catching on fire but also yourself.
“Warn children not to eat any treats before an adult has carefully examined them for evidence of tampering,” according to a safety alert from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Further, doorbells should be rung only at residences that have their outside lights turned on and are in familiar areas.
“Everyone wants to have a safe and happy Halloween for themselves, their guests and especially their children,” the Halloween Safety Web site states. “Using safety tips and some common sense can help you make the most of your Halloween season, keeping it as enjoyable for your kids as it is for you!”