Halloween is an exciting time for millions of kids and parents across the country, as costumes come out in full force and candy abounds in every direction you turn. What usually makes for a fun-filled night of trick-or-treating for many little ones may quickly become dangerous if both parents and children aren't careful. According to the CDC, the number of childhood (ages 5-14) pedestrian deaths nearly quadruples on Halloween night compared to any other night of the year.
And homeowners face similar dangers - with so many unknown people coming up to your home consistently throughout the night, it's important to know how to protect your family's safety, and that of your trick-or-treaters, even if you stay in for the night. So what will you do to stay safe this Halloween? Here are some tips to help you in your efforts.
For the Trick-or-Treaters
Keeping your kids safe while trick-or-treating can be one of the biggest struggles of Halloween as a whole. Whether your kids are old enough to trust to go out on their own, or you'll be escorting them yourself, keep in mind these few things to ensure their safety throughout the festivities.
- Avoid dressing your child in all black. All black costumes are simply asking for trouble walking on the streets in the dark. Have your child carry a flashlight for extra precaution, as well.
- Stay on the sidewalks. There is no reason for a child to have to run out into the street while trick-or-treating. Make sure your children know to stay on the sidewalks at all times, and look both ways before crossing any road.
- Travel in groups and always carry a cell phone. This is especially true if your child is old enough to trick-or-treat with just their friends, and not their parents.
- Visit only familiar houses that have their lights on. Kids can get overly excited at the thought of so much candy sometimes, so it's your job to make sure they're only visiting houses that you are familiar with. Also remind your kids to never approach a house that does not have its outside lights on.
- Costumes should fit your children correctly and not be too large or too small. This can help prevent tripping hazards. And if the costume requires a mask, make sure it is securely fastened and that your child can see clearly through the mask in all directions.
- Add reflective tape to costumes. The easier it is for someone to see your child while trick-or-treating, the lower their chances of being involved in a pedestrian accident.
The last thing you want or need on Halloween is for someone to trip and be seriously injured while trick-or-treating at your house. This is exactly the sort of thing that could result in a lawsuit on this holiday. You also want to protect your home from invasion and burglary. Here are some ways to make sure everyone in and around your home are safe this Halloween.
- Keep the exterior of your home well-lit. Remember that hundreds of kids will be approaching your house throughout the night. Make sure they have a well-lit path to approach your home and keep your sidewalk free of decor or debris.
- Keep lit Jack-O-Lanterns indoors. While lit Jack-O-Lanterns aren't safe to begin with (opt for an LED light inside the pumpkin if at all possible), at least by keeping them indoors, they will be out of sidewalks or driveways or anywhere else that they may tip and harm a trick-or-treater.
- Keep your pets secured. What may be even worse than having an excited dog run out the door after trick-or-treaters is the idea of them possibly injuring a child. Keep excited pets safely secured inside your home as the kids ring your doorbell throughout the night, both for the safety of your pets and for the trick-or-treaters.
- Make sure someone is home to handle trick-or-treaters at all times. If you start the night with your lights on to signify trick-or-treaters, then make sure someone is home at all times throughout the night to man the door.
Take additional precautions to help keep your kids safe and happy on Halloween by thoroughly monitoring the candy that they receive from other houses.
- Inspect all candy bars for open or punctured wrappers. Ensure all candy bars are fully sealed before you allow your kids to consume them.
- Never allow homemade treats to be consumed. You never know where homemade treats came from or what may be in them. It only takes one mistake to learn, so don't take the chance, and don't allow your kids to eat anything that isn't wrapped or sealed tightly in manufacturer packagin.
Make sure your Halloween stays safe and happy this year by following these simple tips. And if you or your child does happen to suffer from an injury this year, call the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood and talk to one of our personal injury attorneys to make sure you get what you deserve from any accidents that may occur. Happy Halloween!