Pokemon Go! The popular game has swept the nation and people of all ages are playing. Why not dress up the kids this year and literally play Pokemon Go? It is that time of year again to head out to bring home the tasty treats, but first we need to talk about trick-or-treat traffic safety.
With all the little trick-or-treaters running around the neighborhood, it is especially crucial to drive extra safe on Halloween night. Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Kids are excited and they may move in unpredictable ways, popping out of areas anywhere at any time. Take an extra moment to look for kids at intersections, as they may be wearing dark costumes that can be difficult to see.
Enter and exit driveways slowly and carefully. As always, eliminate any distractions inside your vehicle. Concentrate on the road and surroundings. Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic, and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances. The popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
When planning your child’s costume, try to pick one that is bright and reflective. Make sure shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping or entanglement. Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility. Masks can limit or block eyesight, making it difficult for pedestrians to see cars coming. Consider nontoxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives to masks. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
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When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories, purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame-resistant. If a sword, cane or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he or she stumbles or trips.
Now that our costumes are in order, here’s tips for how to be safe while out trick-or-treating. A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood routes. If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home. Only go to homes with a porch light on and never, ever enter a home or car for a treat.
Since we know pedestrian injuries can occur to children on Halloween, remind your children:
▪ Stay in a group and communicate where the group will be going.
▪ Always carry a flashlight or wear glow sticks (kids love glow sticks). Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
▪ Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
▪ Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic (this is the law).
▪ Never cut across yards or use alleys. Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks. Never cross between parked cars or cut through driveways.
▪ Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters.
▪ Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.
As a homeowner I like to try to give alternative treats such as pencils, pens, notebooks or coloring books, and make my house as safe as I can for the Pokemon, gremlins and princesses.
By keeping Halloween a fun, safe and happy holiday for you and your kids, you’ll look forward to many happy years of Halloween fun!