According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, young pedestrians are four times more likely to die in a traffic accident on Halloween evening compared with the same time period all other nights of the year. Children engaged in trick-or-treat activities frequently cross streets at mid-block rather than at corners or crosswalks, putting them at risk for pedestrian injury. More than 3800 Halloween injuries occur yearly in the United States.
County Executive Laura Curran and Commissioner Patrick J. Ryder advise drivers to be on particular alert. They need to slow down, come to a complete stop at all stop signs, and proceed with extreme caution. Motorists should be cognizant of the increased pedestrian traffic and operate their vehicles accordingly.
- Never trick or treat alone.
- Wear clothing that is bright, reflective and flame-retardant; wear short clothing that prevents tripping.
- Wear sneakers or comfortable shoes.
- Use face paint (non-toxic, hypoallergenic) and avoid masks that may obstruct the child’s vision.
- Don’t wear floppy hats or wigs that slide over the eyes. Also, children should not wear long, baggy, or loose costumes or oversized shoes.
- Avoid toy weapons. If desired, use costume knives and swords that are flexible, not rigid.
- Stay away from pets. The pet may not recognize the child and become frightened.
- Stay within familiar areas and surroundings. Parents should establish a route for children.
- Use flashlights and stay on sidewalks.
- Cross the street at corners and crosswalks and not between parked cars or mid block.
Motorists should drive slowly and watch carefully for children.
Many community groups, business associations and others host Halloween parties. Parents should consider these as a safe alternative to door-to-door “trick-or-treating” for their children.
- Children should never go into homes. Stay on the porch or stoop when asking for treats.
- Children should avoid homes that don’t have their outside lights turned on.
- Children should never talk to strangers or get into strangers’ cars.
- Children should travel in small groups and be accompanied by parents or an authorized adult chaperone.
- Children should know their home phone number and their parents’ cell phone numbers.
- If you have any questions about suspicious-looking treats, call the police department.
- Adults should only give and accept wrapped or packaged candy.
- Adults should keep porch lights on and their driveways illuminated.
- Homeowners should ensure that their walkways are cleared of debris on which children may trip and fall.
- Children should bring home treats before eating them so parents can inspect them. When children get home, parents should inspect all candy and other treats before they are eaten. Discard all unwrapped or loosely wrapped candy or fruit. If in doubt, throw it out.
—Submitted by Nassau County