Here's a scare for parents: For the past 21 years, Halloween has been the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrians. An average of 5.5 child fatalities happen on Oct. 31 each year compared with 2.6 fatalities for the rest of the year.
These frightening stats are no trick. State Farm and research expert Bert Sperling of Sperling's BestPlaces dug into 4 million records for Oct. 31, 1990-2010 in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Sperling also found that almost a quarter of all accidents on Halloween happen from 6 to 7 p.m. and more than 60% of Halloween accidents happen from 5 to 9 p.m.
If you're driving on Halloween, remember to slow down and be alert for ghosts and goblins popping out from between parked cars. Make sure to have your car's headlights on — even if it's still daylight — to help trick-or-treaters see your car on the road, too.
Last year, we published the following tips to keep kids safe while trick-or-treating. Share your ideas in the comment section below.
Before You Go
- Reflective tape: Apply this tape to the front and back of your child's costume to increase visibility to drivers. Also consider sticking it to your child's jacket, even if you'll likely carry it for most of the evening.
- Glow sticks: Who doesn't love a glow stick? Affix glow sticks to the kids' costumes or look for glow necklaces or bracelets.
- Flashlights: Parents may opt to skip the glow sticks and give kids flashlights instead. Make sure the flashlights have fresh batteries before heading out. Parents should carry flashlights or battery-operated lanterns.
- Costumes: Ill-fitting costumes and masks can increase the chance of a child tripping over them. Make sure costumes aren't too long and masks fit properly, increasing their visibility. Or skip the mask and use nontoxic face paint instead.
While You're Out
- Adult chaperones: Adults should always accompany young trick-or-treaters. Older kids should tell parents the route they'll be trick-or-treating, according to the American Academy of Pediatricians.
- Group think: Make sure your trick-or-treaters stay together in the group. They're going to be excited — really, really excited — and want to run from house to house, so this could be difficult to enforce.
- Sidewalks: Make sure trick-or-treaters use sidewalks to get from house to house. Don't let them cut across yards, driveways or alleys to get to the next house. If there are no sidewalks in your neighborhood, walk facing traffic as far to the left of the road as possible.
- Crosswalks: Use them. Don't allow trick-or-treaters to cross the street at a driveway or from between parked cars where it can be difficult for drivers to see them. Also, don't assume that your group of trick-or-treaters has the right-of-way in a crosswalk. While one driver may stop for you, the next might not see your group in time.
Once you get home, it's time to eat all of your kids' rejected candy — after you've checked your child's stash for any signs of tampering. You deserve it after successfully navigating the streets on Halloween.