- Halloween Safety 101: Protecting Your Ghouls and Goblins
Halloween Safety 101: Protecting Your Ghouls and Goblins
Did you know that when Halloween occurs on a Tuesday night, as it does this year, it’s far more dangerous for children than when it falls on a Saturday evening? Research has found that the most deadly nights of all for Halloween are actually Fridays… with Tuesday nights coming in a close second. At the other end of the spectrum, the safest night of all for trick-or-treating is actually Saturday evening, perhaps because there are fewer people racing home after work that night in a rush not to miss all the frightening festivities.So, with Halloween this year coming on a particularly hazardous day of the week – at least when it comes to traffic fatalities– we thought it might be a good time to remind parents, grandparents, and guardians of some safety tips and other good habits to help keep kids safe. We’ll also offer some alternatives to traditional trick-or-treating for you to consider… though we appreciate that it’s likely to be very hard to say no to kids who want to enjoy an old-fashioned evening of door-to-door excitement filling their sacks with Halloween candy!
The Usual Suspects Continue to Pose Dangers to Halloween Revelers
Let’s start with a few observations from the National Safety Council (NSC), which (among other things) notes that children are more than twice as likely to be hit by cars and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year. Needless to say, parents don’t have only motor vehicle accidents to worry about this time of year. The NSC also warns parents to be on the alert for food allergies that could crop up when kids collect unfamiliar treats in their Halloween haul. Be sure to check for candy that might contain such potential problem ingredients as peanuts and soy products before allowing kids free rein to gobble up the loot they’ve collected.
Another potential risk kids face at Halloween can come from flammable or poorly designed costumes. The Nemours Foundation notes that fabrics labeled “flame-retardant” are safest for dressing up. Also remember that costumes with masks can sometimes limit a child’s peripheral vision or become entangled with hazards like tree branches or shrubs – so take care to avoid such gear when shopping for haunting Halloween apparel.
Plenty of Other Halloween Hazards Can Threaten to Spoil the Festivities
It’s not just cars, candy or costumes that can present problems for unwary trick-or-treaters. Kids often end up getting hurt due to their own excitement and carelessness, and irresponsible adults also contribute to the possibility of accidental injuries – which should come as no surprise, for a number of reasons we’re going to discuss right now.
- Reason #1 — Overexcited kids. Who can forget the thrill of the annual Halloween hunt for candy? Remember rushing from house to house to claim those tasty treats? All that frantic fun can pose some unpredictable problems, especially when eager children forget to follow basic safety rules. So, what’s a concerned parent or guardian to do? While your kids may not like it, you can help them stay safe if you discreetly tag along for the evening’s candy gathering excitement. Even if you remain a few houses behind to let them enjoy the evening somewhat independently, the presence of an unobtrusive yet alert adult in the background can go far in keeping kids both under control and cognizant of traffic safety. The helpful experts in first aid at the American Red Cross also offer some valuable recommendations for child safety on Halloween to help keep your little ones out of trouble.
- Reason #2 — Excessive alcohol. Kids aren’t the only ones who are known to throw caution to the wind this time of year. Halloween parties can be great, but hosts should be sure to keep an eye out for guests who might overindulge at their spooky soirees. Michigan’s social host law stipulates that people giving a party can be held legally liable if they let Halloween party guests depart while under the influence and subsequently cause a drunk driving accident. What’s more, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that the majority of drunk drivers who died on a recent Halloween night were between the ages of 21 and 34. It’s also worth noting several safety tips recommended by the NHTSA, including arranging for designated drivers, avoiding alcohol consumption in the final hour of your Halloween festivities, and utilizing rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft.
- Reason #3 — Earlier sunsets. For decades, Daylight Savings Time ended in late October, causing darkness to arrive an hour earlier just before Halloween. Trick-or-treaters might have enjoyed those eerie early twilights, but public safety officials eventually noted that late October wasn’t ideal for the change back to Standard Time, especially since kids wearing dark costumes were far less visible after sunset. So, nowadays the switch to Standard Time has been moved out to the first Sunday in November. Regardless, it will still be pretty darn dark on Halloween night with sunset in Detroit taking place at 6:27 p.m. So, how do we keep our precious little monsters safer after sundown, especially from negligent drivers? Some simple solutions are to include reflective material on kids’ costumes to make them more visible to motorists, and to provide flashlights or glow sticks for kids to carry, which can add to the festive feeling of “fright night” while keeping everyone protected.
Ensuring Safety on the Spookiest Night of the Year
While the accident statistics we’ve mentioned are sobering reminders of potential Halloween dangers, there is good news — they’re almost completely avoidable with the right safeguards in place. To keep you and your little goblins as safe as possible, we’ve assembled the following handy guide on ways to maximize the fun and minimize the risk!
Trick-or-Treating Preparation Tips:
- Choose colorful, visible, and fire-resistant costumes that will stand out in dim nighttime conditions.
- Use glow sticks, flashlights, and reflective stickers to help improve kids’ visibility.
- Plan a trick-or-treating route that will keep you away from major roads and intersections.
- Start early – while it’s still light outside – and don’t let kids go out alone.
- When it comes to costumes, the FDA recommends using non-toxic Halloween cosmetics on kids’ faces rather than masks (which can interfere with the wearer’s peripheral vision), and avoiding decorative contact lenses (which are illegal unless prescribed by a doctor).
Best Practices When Going Door-to-Door:
- Stay on sidewalks wherever you can to avoid tripping due to unseen hazards and remain as far away from automobile traffic as possible.
- Always travel with a group, preferably supervised by one or more adults.
- Obey local curfews or set one yourself for your kids if your municipality hasn’t specified a designated time for trick-or-treating.
- Remind children that they shouldn’t ever go inside homes or get into vehicles owned by strangers – whether it’s on Halloween or any other day.
- Check your neighborhood on the Michigan State Police Sex Offender Registry to be sure you aren’t inadvertently putting your kids in harm’s way.
- Instruct kids to sort through the candy they receive in a well-lit location when they return home to ensure wrappers are intact and treats contain no ingredients to which they’re allergic.
- Phones can be useful as you scour the neighborhood for candy handouts or document the festivities… but should only be used while you’re standing still! Tripping while texting or taking videos can put a damper on the fun, and – heaven forbid – could even cause you to drop your hard-earned treats!
Safety Guidelines if you Need to Hit the Roads:
- Drive more cautiously than usual – remember kids can be careless and fearless. The National Safety Council suggests keeping an especially watchful eye out for children dressed up in dark costumes.
- It should go without saying, but don’t drink and drive – especially on Halloween. And if you’re attending a seasonal party, use a designated driver or use a rideshare service when it’s time to head home at the witching hour.
- As usual, don’t text while driving and remember to recognize Michigan’s recently enacted Hands-Free Driving Law.You don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of a judge and jury – or in jail – especially during the upcoming holiday season.
- If you’re an inexperienced driver or have difficulties with night vision, Halloween is a very good evening to simply stay at home, hand out candy at the front door, and watch a scary movie on TV. If you absolutely must go out, ask a trusted friend or family member to take the wheel on your behalf. It could save you from making a mistake you’ll regret for the rest of your life.
If Trick-or-Treating Isn’t Your Bag,There Are Some Alternatives
Many organizations across Southeastern Michigan and throughout the state are offering “trunk-or-treat” events where kids can gather Halloween booty from safely parked cars filled with candy. Some of these assess a nominal entry fee, while others are free for local families. Websites including Metro Parent, Oakland County Moms, Little Guide Detroit, and Metro Detroit Mommy list many such activities – though we strongly advise you to double check the reported times and dates since these lists are continually being modified… and if it rains all bets are off! There’s also the annual Halloween in the D citywide celebration, with trunk-or-treat events scattered throughout the city of Detroit at numerous police precincts, fire stations and recreation centers.
Like the Spine of a Skeleton, We’ve Got Your Back
Just as we do day in and day out 24/7/365, we’ll be standing by on Halloween night to take your call if you need us at 855-MIKE-WINS (855-645-3946). Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you or someone you love are injured in any kind of mishap resulting from someone’s negligence or bad actions this Halloween or any other day of the year. We’ll represent your interests and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. No tricks, all treats.
Content checked by Mike Morse, personal injury attorney with Mike Morse Injury Law Firm. Mike Morse is the founder of Mike Morse Law Firm, the largest personal injury law firm in Michigan. Since being founded in 1995, Mike Morse Law Firm has grown to 150 employees, served 25,000 clients, and collected more than $1 billion for victims of auto, truck and motorcycle accidents. The main office is in Southfield, MI but you can also find us in Detroit, Sterling Heights and many other locations.