Superman? Dracula? Tinker Bell? Who should I be this year? That’s the question puzzling millions of kids across the country as Halloween approaches. It takes a lot of work to find the perfect costume: Will it be homemade or store-bought? Require a mask or face paint? Will it be cute, funny or scary?
Assembling the perfect outfit with your children is a great way to bond and have fun as a family. Pinterest has some great ideas and Parenting.com features instructions for inexpensive and easy-to-make costumes. Remember, ensure your child’s visibility will be unhindered by a mask and the costume isn’t too long – you don’t want anyone to trip. Costumes, though, aren’t the only thing that can be hazardous or scary on Halloween.
According to Safe Kids USA, children are more than twice as likely to be killed by a car on Halloween as any other night of the year. So, before your little ghosts and goblins hit the streets or you get in the car on Halloween night, here are some tips to keep everyone safe:
For parents and trick-or-treaters:
· Select costumes wisely – Dark costumes and masks can make it difficult for drivers to see trick-or-treaters. Select lighter colors, don’t wear masks or face paint that limit visibility and place reflective tape on kids’ costumes.
· Accompany your kids – Children should always be with an adult since youngsters are more likely to neglect important road safety rules with all of the Halloween excitement.
· Find safe neighborhoods – Trick-or-treat in neighborhoods with sidewalks, low speed limits, minimal traffic and good lighting.
· Emphasize the safety basics – Give your kids a refresher course before sending them off. Remind them to look both ways before crossing streets and driveways and walk on sidewalks or paths.
· Have a designated driver – Halloween parties are fun, but...according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 52 percent of all the national fatalities on Halloween night from 2007 to 2011 involved a drunk driver. So, if you plan to consume alcohol at a party, always give your keys to a sober driver.
· Avoid distractions – Cell phones, food and makeup should all be stashed away when driving. Texting while driving killed more than 3,000 people in 2011 and injured thousands more. Many companies, like Mercury Insurance, are creating campaigns to highlight the growing trend. Join them and pledge to drive free of distractions.
· Limit yourself from passing stopped vehicles – Expect that cars stopped on the road are dropping off children, so treat them like school buses and refrain from passing them.
· Look out for pedestrians – According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 41 million kids went trick-or-treating in 2012.
· Operate your vehicle at a lower speed – Kids are more likely to run out onto streets, especially when hyped up on sugar, so slow down to give yourself more time to react.
· Wait to put on your mask for the party – Masks decrease visibility, so if you’re driving in a costume that includes a mask, put it on once you arrive.
· Engage other drivers – Communicate with others on the road by using turn signals and turning hazard lights on if you drop off or pick up trick-or-treaters.
· Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly – Sidewalks and backstreets will be packed with little kids, who can be hard to see.
· Never assume – Having the right of way doesn’t mean you should assume the coast is clear. Defensive driving is essential for Halloween safety.
Put these tips into practice to make this Halloween a safe and happy holiday for all, especially our little trick-or-treaters!
I’ve covered pedestrians and driving – now a tip for protecting your property. Meet with a local insurance agent regarding comprehensive coverage limits, so if you’re the recipient of a “trick” on Halloween in the form of a vandalized vehicle, you’re covered. It is also a good time to review your homeowners insurance in case a trick-or-treater happens to trip over your lawn gnome and injure themselves. These unfortunate events happen, and companies like Mercury Insurance have claims teams available round the clock.
Fred Dimeo Insurance Agency