Staying Safe While Trick-or-Treating
As the leaves across PA begin to change color and the air starts to cool, the minds of children start to focus on the coming Halloween celebrations. Meanwhile, parents juggle planning costumes, getting candy for the neighborhood kids, and keeping their families safe while they venture out to enjoy trick-or-treating. Personal safety is deeply important to keep in mind during this season, especially for children, and we’ve collected some information on how to enjoy fall festivities and make it home safely.
A Review of Safety Advice
The Pennsylvania Insurance Department has issued a brief list of tips addressing parents of trick-or-treaters as well as the houses who may be visited by those children or vandals this month. The one-page document is easy to print or reference, and is available for free. This document focuses on broad general tips, and for those seeking candy it includes:
- Avoid loose costumes that may trip their wearers and masks that may obscure vision,
- Review safety rules with children, including safe houses to visit and proper places to cross the road, and
- Do not eat any candy until it has been inspected by a parent. While this handout is short for ease of use and focused on concerns relevant to the Insurance Department, there are other tips provided by the Red Cross and the CDC that parents should keep in mind while preparing or escorting children. These include:
- Plan your route ahead of time;
- Use short, soft, and flexible accessories with costumes;
- Travel in groups, use a flashlight, and attach reflective tape to clothing and bags to ensure visibility;
- Test makeup on a small area before fully applying, and make sure to remove it before going to bed;
- Wear flame-resistant clothing and avoid candles, open flames, or hot surfaces; and
- Be cautious around animals, avoid unlit homes, and do not enter homes.
One way to make trick-or-treating safer is to go to a large public event in daylight and avoid a number of the visibility concerns that arise at night. Trunk-or-treats, a take on the holiday that brings people together in a single supervised parking lot away from traffic, have been growing in popularity and are often hosted by churches, local governments, or other socially-minded organizations. On a larger scale, public places with an eye toward family events may have Halloween-themed activities. For example, Idlewild Park is hosting Hallowboo every remaining weekend in October this year, which includes trick-or-treating in Storybook Forest, themed rides, and a number of family-friendly events; and The Pittsburgh Zoo is hosting ZooBoo the last two weekends of this month, including trick-or-treating throughout the park, a hay maze, and a costume parade.
We urge you to consider these tips and stay safe this Halloween. And if, through the negligence or tricks of someone else, you or your children experience a personal injury, remember that there are legal options and we stand ready to offer help.