Halloween is one of the most exciting holidays of the year, a night full of frights and fun. But the sheer number of people in the streets, often in costume, also makes it the most deadly nights of the year for young pedestrians.

Last year 41 million children were out Halloween night, and 161 million participated in Halloween in some way. With all that activity–parties for adults and trick or treating for children–extra caution and an awareness of the specific dangers on Halloween can go a long way to preventing accidents.

In preparation for the big night, here’s a list of  tips to keep trick-or-treaters safe:

  • Parents should always accompany children if they are younger than 12 years old.
  • Walking from house to house is much safer than running.
  • Children should stay on sidewalks instead of walking between cars or on lawns where there could be ornaments or wires that could be a tripping hazard.
  • Remind children to look for cars when walking by a driveway.
  • Consider a costume that is a lighter color and more visible to motorists. Add reflective material front and back; it can even be part of the design.
  • Give children a flashlight or glow sticks if they will be walking in the dark, even if there are street lamps.

Of course, Halloween is also challenging for drivers, who must be extra cautious with the people on the streets.  Here’s a list of things drivers can do to avoid:

  • Slow down in neighborhoods and residential streets where trick-or-treaters are likely to be. Kids may cross the street at unexpected times or from places besides intersections with crosswalks. Prepare for unpredictable behavior by going slow enough to stop at a moment’s notice.
  • This one is a good rule all the time, but don’t drink and drive. Drunk driving incidents are more common on Halloween; a particularly frightening fact when so many kids are out and about.
  • Same goes for distracted driving. Always pull over to use your phone.
  • Buckle up! If you are driving children around for trick or treating, make sure they are buckled up appropriately each and every time they enter the car.
  • Pull over in safe locations and make sure children exit curb side, away from traffic. Use your hazard lights to alert other drivers of not only your car, but to look out for kids.
  • Be careful backing up! Make sure someone is helping to make sure no kids are behind you. It’s best to just park where backing up isn’t necessary.

Have fun on the streets this year! By keeping to these guidelines, everyone can a safe and exciting night.

Photo Credit: P.W. Fenton