Ah, Halloween—the one day of the year when you can safely feed a vampire, link arms with a zombie, and give your kid twelve Snickers and a pirate sword at the same time. But don't let down your guard just yet! Even though Halloween makes scary stuff fun, it's also a time when some very ordinary things — like cars, darkness, and even those cool costumes — can pose real threats. Take heed of these tips and make sure the only screams you hear are fake.
Serious Scare #1: Cars
According to research by State Farm, Halloween is by far the most dangerous time of the year for young pedestrians—twice as many kids are fatally injured by cars on Halloween than on any other day. Even mini-Supermans are no match for speeding vehicles—keep yours safe with these tips:
- Unmask Yourself: Sure, that Zorro mask looks dashing, but it's also probably blocking your son's peripheral vision (no idea how the actual Zorro pulled off all those rope stunts). Facepaint or makeup is a cool alternative that will make sure nothing sneaks up on your little outlaw.
- No Jaywalking: Traffic laws still exist, even during a night of mayhem. Over 70% of Halloween accidents occur in the middle of blocks, away from crosswalks, intersections, and other safe crossing spots. Remind your child to cross the street legally and safely, because regular rules still apply, even for monsters and aliens. And don't zig-zag through traffic—trick-or-treat on one side of the street at a time.
- Drivers Beware: Driving on Halloween is a recipe for disaster—the roads are clogged with parents' minivans, lined with distracting decorations, and swarming with sugar-high kids running amok. If you must get behind the wheel, drive more slowly than you think you need to, and keep your eyes extra peeled (maybe invest in a third one for the night—it is Halloween, after all). This holds especially true for younger drivers (ages 15-25), who caused 33% of recorded accidents.
Serious Scare #2: Darkness
Halloween is a weird holiday from a home security standpoint—when else do we socially sanction vandalism, purposefully leave the house after dark, or encourage scary-looking strangers to knock on our doors? But all hope is not lost—you can fight anarchy (and keep the fun intact) with a couple of well-placed jack-o-lanterns. Here's how:
- Lights On: Burglars and vandals are far more likely to strike if they can work under cover of darkness. This is a great time to change that burnt-out porch lightbulb and put up some decorative strobes. If you take your kids out trick-or-treating, keep some lights on inside to mask the fact that you're not home. And, as always, don't forget to lock your doors and arm your home security system.
- Candy Curfew: Halloween falls on a weekday this year—in most communities, legitimate trick-or-treaters should be off the streets by 8 or 9 PM. Avoid bad-intentioned visitors by locking your door after a certain hour (you can leave a candy bowl out for stragglers!) and if your kids are heading out by themselves this year, encourage them to be home by then.
- Glow Outside: Darkness is dangerous on the street, too—most Halloween car accidents occur at dusk. Avoid all-black costumes (or spice them up with reflective tape), and make sure your trick-or-treaters are equipped with flashlights and glowsticks.
Scare #3: Faulty Costumes
There's a reason we don't wear these things every day—costumes are tons of fun, but the wrong pick can mean anything from a hassle to a health scare. Here are some things to consider before you head to the mall:
- Go Without The Flow: Long, flowy costumes can trip up young kids—and if there are lose jack-o-lanterns around, they can even catch on fire. Consider hemming your Jedi's robe so it doesn't drag on the ground, and avoid galaxy-sized mishaps.
- Shooby Dooby Doo: Most kids aren't used to pounding the pavement for hours, and sugar can only go so far! Dress your young ones in hardy sneakers, unless you're ready to piggyback your little wolf all the way home.
- Do Not Contact: At first glance, novelty contact lenses seem like a quick and easy way for busy parents to spookify themselves. But recent investigations have revealed that most brands are actually illegal and can scratch your cornea, cause infections, or worse. Skip them—besides, after chasing your kids for a few hours, your eyes will be scary enough as it is.
For security tips from past years, check out these two articles from last year: Halloween Property Protection and Halloween Apartment Security. Be safe, have fun, and best wishes from your friends at SimpliSafe!
Got any more Halloween safety tips? Share in the comments!