You’ve seen safety tips for the young trick-or-treating wizards and monsters in your life, but don’t forget about the older kids when it comes to Halloween safety. Read on to learn what you can do to help keep kids of all ages a little safer on Halloween night.
Trick-or-Treat Safety Tips for Older Kids
Older kids and tweens often go trick-or-treating on their own. Review these safety tips with your kids before they go out and coach them on how to help the whole group be safer.
Review safe walking routes on well-lit streets and point out any specific places to avoid, like vacant properties, homes with unleashed pets, or locations with “No Trespassing” signs posted. Teach them how to stop and check a map or GPS app on a smartphone for directions to stay on the safest route.
Remind them to only visit homes where the porch light is turned on and to never go inside another house or car.
Agree on a specific time to return home. Consider giving them a cell phone for the night so they can talk with you and make sure they know how to call 911 for emergencies.
Make sure they carry a flashlight or a cell phone with a light and wear reflectors or reflective tape on their costume.
Coach older kids to always walk (not run) on a sidewalk while trick-or-treating or to use the far side of the road facing traffic if there isn’t a sidewalk available. Remind them to only cross the street with their group at crosswalks or intersections and to never walk across yards, through alleys, or between cars in the street.
Trick-or-Treat Safety Tips for Teen Drivers
Twice as many kids are struck by a car on Halloween than on any other day, and younger kids are 10 times more likely to be killed by a car in the evening hours of Halloween. While it’s important to teach young drivers to always follow traffic safety laws and ditch distractions like their cell phones, talk with your teens about the additional dangers of driving during trick-or-treating hours.
Limit teens’ driving during trick-or-treating hours by helping them plan their schedule so they don’t need to drive during that time. If they will be on the road, help them plan routes that avoid trick-or-treaters and remind them to drive slower than the posted speed limits.
Remind your teen driver that children get excited during trick-or-treating and may dart out into the road without looking. Coach them to watch carefully for any stragglers running after a group and to be extra alert in the following places:
At intersections where families or groups might be crossing
Near driveways and alleys where kids may pop out from unexpected spots
Around cars parked on the street or pulled over with their hazard lights flashing
Encourage teen drivers to turn on their headlights before the sun goes down to help them see trick-or-treaters who may be dressed in dark costumes.
Teach teen drivers to use their hazard lights when pulling over to pick up or drop off kids who are trick-or-treating.
If your teen is decorating their car as a Trunk-or-Treat spot, remind them to always turn off the engine and remove the keys from the ignition. Never use the car engine or battery to power lights, decorations, or to provide warmth. Leaving the car engine on exposes anyone nearby to dangerous levels of exhaust fumes in the air and poses a fire risk for decorations or goodies near the gas tank.
Talk with your older kids and teens about these Halloween safety tips so that your night is full of treats and not tricks. Have a fa-boo-lous Halloween!
Laura Dattner is a research writer in the Center for Injury Research and Policy. With both a health communications and public health background, she works to translate pediatric injury research into meaningful, accurate messages which motivate the public to make positive behavior changes.
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