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Halloween is dangerous for pedestrians: tips to make it safer

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This story is sponsored by IHC Riverton Hospital. Learn more about IHC Riverton Hospital.

Halloween is a fun holiday, especially for kids. You get to dress up in costumes, eat candy, go to parties and trick or treat. But unfortunately, Halloween is one of the most dangerous days for pedestrians.

According to the National Safety Council, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year. By month, in 2017, October ranked No. 2 nationally for motor vehicle deaths with 3,550. August was first with 3,642 deaths.

There are two important things you can do to help your kids and everyone around you stay safe on Halloween.

  1. Practice pedestrian safety.
  2. Practice safe driving. Here are a few reminders of how to do both.

8 pedestrian safety tips for parents and kids on the trick-or-treat trail

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
  • Take a flashlight--visibility decreases long before it gets really dark.
  • Carry a cell phone for quick communication.
  • If older children are going without parents, plan and review an acceptable route. Agree on a specific time they should return home.
  • Remind your child to stay on sidewalks and obey all traffic signals.
  • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks. Never cross between parked cars or out of driveways.
  • Don't assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing pedestrians at night. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will.

8 tips for drivers on Halloween

Halloween can be difficult for drivers because there are so many more kids out on the streets. Children can behave unpredictably, especially when excited and rushing to get the next treat. Dark colored costumes can make people difficult to see after dark. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers these tips:

Drive slowly in residential areas. Expect there will be children. Keep your windshield clean. Don't drink and drive. Drunken-driving incidents increase on Halloween. If you see a drunk driver or impaired pedestrian, report it to your local police department.

Drivers should be responsible and understand Halloween is especially dangerous.

Watch for children who may dart out into the street. When drivers see one child, others are likely to be close by.

Buckle up if you're driving children around trick-or-treating. Everyone should be in an appropriate car seat, booster or seat belt.

Pull over at safe locations to let children exit on the curb, away from traffic. Use your hazard lights to alert other drivers of your car.

Spot the Tot. Try to park in a spot where you won’t need to back up. But if you do, use your rearview camera or have an adult walk completely around your vehicle to make sure no children are in the way.

Put your cell phone down and don't use any other mobile device while driving. Pull over to safely check voice messages or texts if necessary.

Choosing safe costumes for your little ghouls

  • Light colored costumes are more easily seen. Add reflective tape or glow-in-the-dark tape to the front and back and to the trick-or-treat bag.
  • Masks, wigs and beards can make it hard for kids to see and breathe. Use non-toxic face paint or makeup instead.
  • To prevent falls, avoid oversized and high-heeled shoes. Make sure the costume isn’t too long to prevent tripping.
  • Make sure any props your kids carry, such as wands or swords, are short and flexible.
  • Avoid colored or decorative contact lenses, unless they're prescribed by an eye doctor for your child.
  • Only buy a costume labeled "flame-retardant." This means the material won't burn. If you make your own costume, use materials like polyester or nylon that are flame-retardant.

Candy safety: Is it a treat or a trick?

  • Make sure you inspect all candy before your child eats it.
  • Avoid candy that’s not wrapped in its original wrapper.
  • Homemade treats and fruit can be tampered with.