In a perfect world, trick-or-treaters could focus only on dodging scary zombies, collecting as many treats as possible and having fun with their friends.
But the real world dictates that parents and children observe some simple precautions when hitting the neighborhood streets on Halloween.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children are four times more likely to be involved in fatal pedestrian accidents on Halloween than any other time.
As you head out trick-or-treating on Wednesday night with your little princesses and superheroes in tow, local experts want to remind you of some of the dangers kids face on Halloween.
“Crossing streets tends to provide the most dangerous situation because small children sometime dart out from between cars and motorists don't see them,” said Dave Koeneke, executive director of Oklahoma Safety Council.
Koeneke works with Drive Aware Oklahoma, an advocacy group of organizations that works to increase citizen awareness about distracted driving, as well as to motivate citizens to add their voices to the call for policy change in this area. The group has designated the week before Halloween as “Drive Aware Oklahoma Week.”
“Stop Texts, Stop Wrecks,” is a slogan adopted by the group.
On Halloween, both trick-or-treaters and motorists need to be extra vigilant, Koeneke said.
The Norman Police Department says there are several reasons kids are more likely to be hurt on Halloween than other times.
Kids tend to take the shortest route to their destinations, which could mean darting out between parked cars. Children often aren't very good at sizing up traffic situations and may be distracted by their costumes, other children and decorations.
Drivers should be aware of kids walking near roadways and remember they may suddenly step, fall or be pushed into the street.
Here are some tips from AAA and the Norman Police Department for keeping Halloween safe and fun.
• Trick-or-treat while it is still light outside. Though it will still be Daylight Savings Time on Halloween, the sun will set about 6:30 p.m.
If your children do go out after dark, they should carry a flashlight so they can see and be seen easily. For additional visibility, use retro-reflective tape on costumes.
• Use makeup instead of a mask.
• Trick-or-treat in groups.
• Remind your kids to cross streets only at corners and to never cross between parked cars or in the middle of the block.
If there are no sidewalks, tell your kids to always walk facing traffic and as far off the roadway as possible.
• Children should only visit the homes of residents they know and who have outside lights on as a sign of welcome. Children should not enter homes or apartments unless an adult accompanies them.
• Warn children not to eat any treats before an adult has carefully examined them for evidence of tampering.