Weekly Feature

2014-10-29 / Editorials

Safety essential for a happy Halloween

Bee Editorial

With Halloween on a Friday this year, many fans of the holiday will be able to enjoy festivities throughout the weekend without concern for work or school duties.

However, homeowners shouldn’t have to worry about candy-seekers knocking at their door all day. Trick-or-treaters should visit neighborhoods during Clarence’s designated “Trick or Treat” hours from 5 to 8 p.m.

Dressing in costume and receiving gifts from neighbors can be an exciting experience for children. Parents should prepare them to prioritize safety and ensure that their excitement doesn’t lead them to take unnecessary risks.

One concern is the danger to pedestrians who may be crossing streets or driveways in the dark on their door-to-door quest. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Oct. 31 has had the second highest number of pedestrian deaths since 1986, averaging 24 fatalities on that day each year. The following tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association offer some guidelines for ensuring that children have a safe Halloween and motorists use caution:

• Obey all traffic rules and slow down. Watch for children walking on roads, medians and curbs — and take notice if there are no sidewalks.

• Enter and exit driveways carefully.

• Be especially alert. Children are darting out from between parked vehicles and from behind bushes.

• Never drink and drive. If you are attending a Halloween party, designate a driver.

• Keep your eyes on the road. Neighborhoods that don’t normally have pedestrian or bicycle traffic may experience an increase in activity on Halloween. Remember that children are excited and may forget to stop, look and listen before crossing the street.

Be patient. Young children need time to cross the street, especially if their costumes impair their ability to see or hear what is around them.

Halloween safety is a topic discussed every year — but that doesn’t mean it’s a topic that should be retired. Children may be trick-or-treating for the first time or venturing off more independently than before, and a quick reminder of safety issues could prevent a tragedy.

Adults who are driving on Halloween should also exercise more caution because of the influx of pedestrian traffic — and, as always, do not drink and drive. It only takes a little intentionality and caution to ensure that the holiday remains happy and safe.

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