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Halloween driving safety: how to keep trick-or-treaters safe

Posted by Ashley Schwab on

All Hallows’ Eve is near, and we want to leave the spooking to the trick-or-treaters. On the evening of Monday, October 31, children will be all over the streets of your town or city trick-or-treating. As they do so, their risk of injury by driver is significantly higher than any other day of the year. According to reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Halloween is one of the three days with the highest pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The Center for Disease Control estimates that children are four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year. This is especially true during the peak trick-or-treat hours of 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.


These injuries can be easily prevented if drivers and parents take appropriate precautions. The last thing children are thinking about as they run from front door to front door is traffic safety. They are thinking about getting candy, and if the next house with lights on is across the street, chances are that kid will sprint across without thinking or looking for oncoming traffic.


Since excited trick-or-treaters often forget about safety, safety falls to drivers and parents. Drivers must be even more alert than usual on Halloween night. And parents must be vigilant about reminding their children the rules to keep safe. Here are some tips to keep children and fellow community members safe:



  • Slow down in residential neighborhoods. Drive at least 5-10 mph below the posted speed limit. This will give enough reaction time if a child darts in the street.
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals.
  • Turn on headlights to ensure clear visibility. This is important even in the daylight.
  • Always use a turn signal when merging, switching lanes, or turning to keep everyone on the road and on the sidewalks aware.
  • Use hazard lights when pulling off to the side of the road, getting out, or stopping in order to make children, families, and party-goers more aware.
  • Enter and exit driveways, alleys, and heavily trafficked areas carefully.
  • Stay off your devices at all times.
  • Be on the lookout for children crossing the street. This will happen at any location, not just crosswalks. Children will likely not be paying attention to traffic and will likely cut between cars to cross the streets.
  • Drivers must broaden their awareness further than usual. Instead, drivers should scan sidewalks, yards and front porches. Children will dart out into the street from anywhere.
  • Also be aware that children will be walking on the road, curbs or medians of streets.
  • Awareness needs to be heightened at all times and in every way. Some children will be in dark costumes, which are harder to see at night.



If parent is with the trick-or-treaters:

  • Parents should always supervise young children trick-or-treating.
  • Travel in groups whenever possible. Drivers will see groups easier than an individual child. Children are small and difficult to see, especially if small and in dark clothing or costume.
  • Parents should get out of the car with children to walk them to the door. Sometimes parents want to stay in the car and drive house to house as their kids run to doors. But this should be avoided. It’s a little more work for parents, but it will keep children safer.
  • When super young children are going to doors, parents should accompany them to protect from strangers and to keep children from running into the road.
  • Wear costumes that do not prevent children from having clear vision. This includes masks, which can mess with a child’s peripheral vision and can be dangerous when crossing a street with heavy traffic.
  • If a costume does not have reflective properties, adding reflective tape to the costume will greatly increase the level of visibility.
  • Stay on the sidewalks and avoid walking in the street as much as possible.
  • If sidewalks are not available, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic. This may seem counterproductive, but drivers will notice more easily. Parents should be closest to traffic with children on the outside or behind.
  • Only cross the street at corners and crosswalks, never cross between parked vehicles.
  • When crossing the street, look both ways and listen for cars before crossing.


If parents will not be with their children:

  • Plan the route with trick-or-treaters ahead of time. Discuss the route again in detail before they leave.
  • Make sure trick-or-treaters state exactly where they will be going.
  • Verify your child has his or her cellphone on. If your child doesn’t have a cellphone, verify that someone in the group has a cellphone, and be sure that you have the contact information.
  • Discuss safety precautions including pedestrian, traffic, and traveling safety.
  • Remind trick-or-treaters to use crosswalks to cross the road. Remind them to not cross at any location and to avoid darting across the street. Tell them to stop and look both ways before crossing.
  • Tell trick-or-treaters to travel to only familiar areas.
  • Remind students to only travel in well-lit areas and never enter garages or homes.
  • Tell children to not eat any candy until returning home.
  • Establish a specific time that trick-or-treaters must be home by.


Prevent Halloween from becoming a nightmare for yourself and your community. Follow these driving safety tips to protect our young ghouls, witches, princesses and superheroes who are just trying to have a fun night.

Halloween Safety

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