The risk of a pedestrian fatality on Halloween increases by four times, according to AAA Michigan. This statistic makes Halloween one of the deadliest nights of the year for child pedestrians. But if those on foot and behind the wheel follow some essential rules for pedestrian safety on Halloween, car accidents involving pedestrians are completely avoidable.
1. Have a Group Halloween
For some people, October 31 is a family affair, with everyone going door-to-door trick-or-treating. In many places, kids go unsupervised or travel in packs. Left to their own devices, these young people can easily succumb to dares, excitement, and distraction, causing them to make bad choices about running into the street or crossing a busy lane or block too soon. You may trust your tween or the people in your neighborhood, but children under 12 should still be accompanied by an adult while trick-or treating.
2. Review the Rules
While it’s essential for drivers to be extra-alert on Halloween and keep in mind that pedestrians grow in number on this date and are often difficult to see, it’s up to the pedestrians themselves to maintain their own safety. This means that parents should review the rules of safety whether they’ll be accompanying their kids trick-or-treating or not. Remind your children to walk and not run, to look carefully before crossing a street or intersection, to stay in well-lit areas, and to not stray from established pathways.
3. Choose Costumes Wisely
Halloween, of course, is all about the costume. Nevertheless, it’s important to choose a get-up that is not only appropriate for the weather but also for walking about and navigating tricky pathways. Masks can obscure a child’s vision, so it may be necessary for your Halloweener to adjust their costume in between house stops so they can walk about safely. A costume that fits well will also protect your child – some hemming or even duct tape can prevent a princess from tripping over her gown and falling in the middle of the street. Hazardous accessories should be chosen with care – attach rules of conduct to costumes that are accompanied by light sabers, swords, and the like.
4. Light Up the Night
While car beams will do their job and illuminate what’s in front of a moving vehicle, it’s better to give drivers an idea of moving objects in all directions. And this bit of helpfulness is easily accomplished and can even be fun for your kids to participate in. Add reflective tape to the back of a costume, the legs, the wings, the cape, the hood, or the trick-or-treat bag. Provide your child with glow necklaces, glow bracelets, glow sticks, or flashlights for helpful illumination.
5. Do Your Part
Even if you’re out trick-or-treating with the fam, if part of your family is home handing out candy to the little ones, then make sure your property is safe for trick-or-treaters too. Clear your walkways of hazards. Improve visibility by turning on your porch light and any other helpful outdoor lights to highlight the path to your door. Put your pets in a safe place for the evening so they don’t run outside and cause a child or adult to chase after them into the street.
Halloween is all about haunting, but safety is easy if you use common sense and make it a fun part of the celebration.
David Christensen is a pedestrian accident attorney at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He helps the victims of distracted driving accidents recover damages from insurance companies and at-fault drivers.