While Halloween means children dressing in costume and going through the neighborhood in search of treats, it can be a dangerous time for them to be on the streets, plus the treats can be unhealthy for them, said Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.
“Even though Halloween comes before the fall time change this year, the days are still getting shorter, and with shorter days comes more nighttime driving,” said Chelsea Stevens, AgriLife Extension family and community health agent, Williamson County.
“In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 44 percent of those killed in traffic accidents on Halloween night from 2012 to 2016 died in crashes involving a drunk driver,” she said.
Stevens said tips for motorists include:
- Slow down in neighborhoods and watch for children walking on roads, medians and curbs.
- Take extra precautions when entering or exiting driveways.
- Be alert to children darting out from between cars or from behind bushes or shrubs.
- Don’t drink and drive. If attending a party where alcohol is to be served, designate a driver.
Tips for parents include:
- Have an adult accompany children at all times to supervise their trick-or-treat activities.
- Teach children to stop, look and listen before they cross the street.
- Take a flashlight and have your child wear reflective strips or patches on their clothing or costume to be more visible to motorists.
- Be certain a child’s mask does not obstruct vision or impair hearing.
- Make sure costumes do not impede walking or driving ability.
Tips for child and adult pedestrians include:
- Before crossing a street, stop at the curb or edge of the road and look left, right and left again before crossing.
- Walk, don’t run, from house to house or across the road.
- Cross streets only at intersections and crosswalks, then obey any traffic signals and watch for turning cars.
- Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the street facing traffic.
“By taking some extra time to making sure all of us — drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists — obey the rules, Halloween can be a safe time for all,” Stevens said.
Through the application of science-based knowledge, AgriLife Extension creates high-quality, relevant continuing education that encourages lasting and effective change.