Skeletons, witches and scary ghosts rejoice: it’s almost Halloween! The holiday likely originated more than 2,000 years ago when Celts would light bonfires and wear disguises to ward off roaming evil spirits. We’ve come a long way from those days—Halloween is now a beloved, community-based holiday with fun and treats for both adults and kids.
However, nothing would ruin the fun like a car or truck accident. With kids walking down the street trick-or-treating in costumes and masks that could limit their peripheral vision, it can also be a dangerous celebration. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Halloween is regularly ranked as one of the three most dangerous pedestrian fatality or injury days all year. Percentage-wise, there are twice as many pedestrian fatalities on Halloween (28% of all deaths) than on a typical day (14%). With so many distractions for kids and the potential for adults to be driving while intoxicated, Halloween can be a treacherous night if you don’t take precautions.
As Richmond personal injury lawyers, we offer these tips for enjoying a safe and fun Halloween:
Safety Tips for Trick-or-Treaters
- Bring a flashlight when you go trick-or-treating.
- Walk on the sidewalk, if available, and use crosswalks to cross the street.
- Be on the lookout for cars backing out of driveways.
- Disguise your kids in costumes with light or bright colors. Flashing lights incorporated in any costume are a safety bonus! If they absolutely must wear dark colors, add some reflective tape to their costume so car headlights will illuminate them.
- Doublecheck that your kids’ costumes are flame retardant. With masks, wigs, beards and other disguises to choose from, first check on the tag that the costume or accessory is flame retardant and if it’s not, choose another!
- Choose face paint over masks to provide your child with his or her maximum range of vision.
- Walk, don’t run, from house to house. We know it’s exciting, but running is a recipe for an accident – either by tripping over something in the dark or falling down in the street as a car is about to pass. Slow down and be careful.
- Chaperone your kids, especially those under age 12. Make sure an adult is walking along with your children as they trick-or-treat around the neighborhood. Why not arrange for one adult to take a group of kids out together – and have other adults take turns as the chaperone?
- Warn your kids about potential candle flames in jack-o-lanterns. Kids might not think about the dangers of an open flame, so emphasize the potential danger and tell them to stay as far away from the pumpkins on the neighbors’ porch as possible.
Halloween Driver Safety
- Realize that trick-or-treaters will be out and about, so exercise a heightened sense of caution.
- Never drink and drive – not even one sip! Drunk driving is an ongoing cause of increased motor vehicle fatalities on Halloween.
- Don’t use cell phones or electronic devices while you’re behind the wheel!
- Drive slower than the speed limit through residential neighborhoods so you can stop quickly if a child runs in front of your car.
- Remember that cars stopped on residential roads might be carrying trick-or-treaters getting in and out of the car. Use caution: don’t pass the car on either side.
Finally, if you’re a homeowner, be sure to clear your walkway of items that could cause masked trick-or-treaters to trip or fall; opt for battery-powered lights in your pumpkins and fence or rope off areas where you don’t want foot traffic to go.
By taking a few steps in advance, you can enjoy all the trick-or-treating and frightful fun this American tradition has to offer. We wish you a safe and happy Halloween!
If you’re a ghost or goblin who has been hurt in an accident through no fault of your own―on Halloween or any time of year―call the personal injury attorneys at Commonwealth Law Group. We’ll fight for the justice you deserve! We offer a free, no obligation consultation to analyze the details of your case and help you consider how best to proceed. Call us at 804.999.9999.