Story & Photo by Julie Archer
Halloween is a holiday for kids to dress up, eat candy and have fun; it is common to forget about the dangers that the holiday brings around.
According to the National Safety Council, in 2015 there were 6,700 pedestrian deaths on Halloween. This is a result of children darting out in the street or simply being unaware of street safety.
Here are some safety tips:
Don’t have kids? Not a fan of the holiday? Drivers should be aware that the entire week of Halloween there will be kids out running around. If it is dark, turn out of driveways and alleys slowly and always check mirrors and rear cameras. Drivers with minimal experience should consider staying off the road at night. Also, if Halloween parties are in the works, it is important to have a plan to get home that does not involve drinking and driving. Drinking and driving is dangerous on its own, but it is even more dangerous with the number of pedestrians.
People putting out decorations, stores stocking candy and Halloween shops opening are signs that Halloween is approaching. Being prepared for the holiday can make a difference. Some neighborhoods have trick-or-treating on different nights depending on school schedules, so being aware of the times will keep more people off the road when there are kids wandering the streets.
“Have a plan and know where your kids are trick-or-treating and have an idea of where you are at in case of an emergency,” Micah Horner, Midwest City firefighter, said. “If you’re in a situation where you need to call 911, it is important to know where you’re at so first responders can get there quickly.”
Make Children Aware
If a child is old enough to go trick-or-treating without an adult, ensure they know basic pedestrian safety. Teach them not to walk out in front of cars or to walk by a vehicle that is backing out of its driveway. Involve children in planning a route so everyone is aware of the designated trick-or-treating area. Give children a curfew, as well. Cell phones for communication are also a good idea, but emphasize the importance of not looking at phones while walking in the street. Children should also know not to enter a stranger’s home or vehicle. While carrying a bucket of treats is tempting, guarantee a child’s safety by not allowing them to eat any candy until they get home and parents or guardians have the opportunity to check the candy for any possible tampering.
One of the most exciting parts of Halloween is to be able to dress up as something else. However, check labels to ensure wigs, clothing and accessories are flame-resistant.
One mom offered her own advice.
“If you’re going to be walking for trick-or-treating, wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes – costume style shoes might be cute but blisters are not,” said Misty Engelbrecht, Director of Academic Outreach and Adult Education.
If a child is trick-or-treating, consider using non-toxic face paint instead of a mask. Masks can obstruct vision and make it difficult to walk in the dark. Conduct a spot test on a small area of the face or neck with face paint to ensure there are no allergic reactions. Children in the dark should have reflective tape, glow sticks or a flashlight with them so it is easier for drivers to see them.
These tips are important safety measures. If these precautions are taken, then Halloween can still be a fun holiday for kids and adults to enjoy.
15TH STREET NEWS
6420 SE 15th St, Midwest City, OK 73110
Rose State College, Fine Arts Room 110