Halloween is a time of great fun for children, but it can be a little scary for parents and drivers. Children are often out after dark, crossing busy streets and perhaps going to unfamiliar homes. But by exercising a little caution, everyone can have a safe, enjoyable time.
Drivers need to be particularly cautious with the seasons shortened daylight and excited kids frantically going from neighbor to neighbor. It can be a very dangerous combination, said Ray Palermo, director of public information for Teachers Insurance Plan. Parents, children, drivers and homeowners all need to use a little extra caution and heed some safety tips.
This year, Halloween falls on a Sunday. So, with the kids out of school, take advantage of the daylight hours for trick-or-treating. Trick-or-treat hours for the City of Rockford are 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. If children are out at night, drivers need to be particularly careful at dusk and when driving either over a hill or around a curve, where visibility is limited. Use high beams for greater visibility.
Trick-or-treaters should always be accompanied by an adult or travel in a group. Children should be told not to eat any unwrapped candy or treats until they return home for their parents to see them. Making sure kids have already eaten before heading out may help.
Parents should put reflective tape on costumes or add bright colors to increase visibility. Makeup rather than masks should be worn to help ensure that children have a clear view of their surroundings.
Trick-or-treaters may be caught up in the excitement of the day and not be as careful as they should. They should always cross at corners and look both ways before crossing. Drivers need to keep a careful eye on the road and on the sidewalk, in case anyone darts out from between parked cars.
Children should stay on the sidewalk or if none is available, walk facing the lane of traffic, and they should carry a flashlight.
Homeowners should clear their yards of anything that can be tripped over and be sure to have a front door or walkway light on, and refrain from decorations that use an open flame that could ignite a childs costume.
A free brochure with more advice, Halloween Safety Tips, is available by calling 1-800-2TEACHERS or visiting www.teachers.com.