MILWAUKEE (10/26/2009) - Each year at about this time, little ghosts, goblins, even witches and more come out of hiding in search of tricks and treats. Halloween is one of a child's favorite holidays, but it also is one of the most dangerous. Children are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween. Safe Kids Southeast Wisconsin Coalition encourages you to check out these safety tips for a fun and safe Halloween.
- Make sure drivers can see costumes in the dark. Be original with a glow-in-the-dark costume or a reflective trick-or-treat bag. Children should use a flashlight or glow stick when walking at night.
- Trick-or-treat in a group, not alone. Kids younger than 13 should go with an adult. Older kids always should go with buddies and follow a preplanned route.
- Remind kids to slow down and stay alert. They should cross streets at crosswalks and intersections, stop at street corners, look left, right and left again before crossing. Kids should never cross between parked cars or step into the street without looking to see if a vehicle is coming.
- Make sure children walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, they should walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Drivers also need to do their part to keep trick-or-treaters safe from harm.
- Be especially alert. Popular trick-or-treating hours typically are from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., however that varies among communities.
- Slow down — expect a lot of pedestrian traffic.
- It's darker earlier now, be sure to drive with your full headlights on so you can spot children from greater distances.
- Reduce any distractions inside your car, such as talking on the phone or eating, so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
- Check kids' treats before they eat them. Tell kids to pick only wrapped candy when they trick-or-treat.
- Make sure costumes fit properly. Costumes should be large enough to allow warm clothes underneath, but short enough to prevent tripping. Do not allow children to wear adult shoes or boots.
- For the little superheros, be sure to fasten capes with Velcro® that easily pulls apart. Never tie capes or other costume pieces around a child's neck.
Also, close and lock windows so children do not attempt to open and jump from them; explain the difference between what people do on television or movies and what they can do in real life.
- Use facial paints and cosmetics in place of masks. If a mask is used, make certain the eye and nose openings do not restrict vision or breathing.
- Children should remove masks in between trick-or-treating stops.
- Children should trick-or-treat only during your community's predetermined hours.
- Kids should only visit homes of people they know and only accept treats at the door.
For more information about pedestrian safety, including interactive games parents and children can play together, go to BlueKids.org/KohlsCares.