On a night when many children spend hours in close proximity to cars as
they navigate through neighborhoods gathering candy, pedestrian safety
should be a top priority for both drivers and parents. On average, twice
as many kids are killed while walking on Halloween compared to other days
of the year.
This year, Halloween falls on the night the clocks are turned back, but
kids will still be out while it is dark – making it harder for drivers
to see them. This lack of visibility makes it important for drivers to
slow down and watch out for trick-or-treaters, especially around crosswalks.
Pedestrian safety is not just the responsibility of the driver: parents
can do their part to help kids stay out of the emergency room on Halloween
by emphasizing safe pedestrian behaviors before they go out trick-or-treating.
“The simple act of slowing down on neighborhood roads will not only
make the tricks and treats of Halloween more enjoyable for everyone, but
perhaps save lives,” said Debbie Leger, Safe Kids Catawba County
coordinator. “Children younger than age 12 should not be alone crossing
streets at night without an adult. If older kids are mature enough to
go trick-or-treating without adult supervision, parents should make sure
they go in a group and stick to a predetermined route with good lighting.”
Halloween is an exciting holiday for children, but they can be vulnerable
to injury on this night. To ensure trick-or-treaters stay safe, Safe Kids
recommends that children: Cross the street safely at corners,
using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when
crossing and keep looking as you cross. Walk, don’t run, across
the street. Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk
facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on
direct routes with the fewest street crossings. Slow down and stay alert
– watch out for cars that are turning or backing up and never dart
out into the street or cross in between parked cars. Costumes can be both
creative and safe. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or
stickers and, if possible, choose light colors. Masks can obstruct a child’s
vision, so choose non-toxic face paint and make-up whenever possible instead.
Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights in order to see better, as
well as be seen by drivers.
Drivers need to do their part to keep trick-or-treaters safe from harm.
FedEx reminds motorists to be extra careful this Halloween and recommends
that drivers: Slow down in residential neighborhoods and school zones.
Remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are during the typical rush-hour
period of 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Be especially alert and take extra time to
look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. Children are
excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways. Slowly and carefully
enter and exit driveways and alleys. Reduce any distractions inside your
car, such as talking on the phone or eating, so you can concentrate on
the road and your surroundings.
While pedestrian safety is a main concern on Halloween, parents and kids
should also be careful when dealing with candy. “While kids never
want to wait to dive into their candy, it is best to check sweets for
signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them,” added
Leger. “Remind children to only eat treats in original and unopened
In preparation for Halloween, Safe Kids Catawba County will team up with
volunteers from Walk This Way program sponsor FedEx to provide kids with
reflective materials to promote visibility, including trick-or-treat bags
and zipper tags that can be attached to costumes, as well as important
safety information to children, parents, and drivers.
For more tips on how to help kids become safer pedestrians on Halloween,
as well as throughout the year, visit
Safe Kids Catawba County works to prevent unintentional childhood injury,
the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. Its
members include Newton Fire Department, City of Hickory Fire Department,
Catawba County Public Health, Texas Roadhouse, Hickory Police Department,
Valley Hills Mall, Catawba County EMS, Catawba Valley Medical Center,
Cooperative Extension, Catawba County Sheriff’s Department.
Safe Kids Catawba County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network
of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids
Catawba County was founded in 1999 and is led by Catawba Valley Medical Center.