Halloween Safety Tips for Trick-Or-Treaters, Homeowners and Motorists
The arrival of hand-carved pumpkins, ghoulish ghosts, cackling witches and spooky skeletons are all signs that Halloween night is just around the corner. While Halloween can be one of the most exciting nights of the year for people of all ages, it can be easy to get so caught up in the Halloween spirit that you forget about important safety precautions.
Whether you’re supervising a group of young trick-or-treaters, decorating your home to entertain your neighbours or driving to a fun Halloween event you should follow these safety tips – ensuring a safe Halloween for everyone that is more about treats than tricks.
Halloween Safety Tips for Trick-or-Treaters
- Supervise young trick-or-treaters. All children under the age of 12 should have at least one responsible adult to supervise them throughout the course of their trick-or-treating fun. Children are also encouraged to trick-or-treat in groups of four or five – especially more mature children who may be trick-or-treating unsupervised.
- Establish rules and boundaries. Set agreed-upon boundaries together before the trick-or-treating begins. Design a route that stays within the local area that the trick-or-treaters are familiar with, and set a time that unsupervised trick-or-treater groups must return home by. Remind trick-or-treaters to only visit homes that have the porch light on, and to only accept treats at the door – never inside a stranger’s home or car.
- Walk and cross streets carefully. Always keep to sidewalks and paths wherever possible. Instruct trick-or-treaters to visit all of the homes on one side of the street first, before crossing to the next. Ensure they are crossing at the designated areas (crosswalks and intersections) and obeying traffic signals, if applicable. If there are no traffic signals available, ensure the entire group stops, looks both ways before crossing, listens for traffic, walks calmly, remains alert and continues looking for oncoming vehicles while crossing.
- Safety-proof costumes. Help young trick-or-treaters avoid long costumes that could pose a potential tripping hazard, as well as a fire hazard near open flames and candles. Offer the use of face paint and makeup instead of masks, which have the potential to obstruct a child’s vision and breathing.
- Increase visibility. It can become very difficult for motorists to spot young trick-or-treaters in the dark, especially if they are wearing dark-coloured costumes. Try to encourage your trick-or-treaters to opt for bright-coloured get-ups, and help them decorate their costumes and treat bags with reflective strips and stickers. You should also supply them with glow sticks and flashlights to help them be seen by motorists, as well as to better see motorists themselves. Make sure to bring a flashlight for each of the adult supervisors too.
- Examine collected treats. Remind your trick-or-treaters to refrain from enjoying any of their candy haul until all goodies have been examined by an adult at home. Any candy with opened or ripped packaging should be discarded immediately.
Halloween Safety Tips for Homeowners
- Watch your wiring. Use outdoor extension cords if you want to have animated or lighted decorations outside your home. Make sure that all wiring is safety-tested and in good condition, that electrical outlets are not overloaded and that all wiring is positioned in a place where it will not pose a tripping hazard. Never staple or nail your electric cords into place, as this could damage the wire and/or insulation – potentially causing electrical shock or fire.
- Keep entryway clear and visible. Walk your property the night before Halloween to identify potential risks. Check that the path that trick-or-treaters will take from the sidewalk to your front door is clear of debris, that all holes and related obstacles are clearly marked and that the pathway is well-lit. This will help to ensure that all trick-or-treaters and their adult supervisors are able to come and go safely. Having a well-lit driveway and yard could also help to deter pranksters and vandals from potentially targeting your home.
- Use flameless candles. Not only will battery-operated candles last a lot longer inside of your jack-o-lanterns than traditional tea lights, but they will also help you avoid the danger of a fire caused by an accidentally toppled pumpkin or a trick-or-treater’s long cape.
- Choose decorations carefully. Avoid dried items such as cornstalks, dried flowers and crepe paper that are highly combustible. If you do choose to include these items in your Halloween home décor, ensure that they are kept far away from flames and other heat sources, such as light bulbs.
Halloween Safety Tips for Motorists
- Avoid peak times. Try to avoid driving in subdivisions during the popular trick-or-treating hours of 5:30-9:30 p.m. on Halloween night.
- Drive slowly. Allow yourself ample time to arrive at your destination and drive slowly. It’s best to keep well below the speed limit when driving through residential neighbourhoods, especially during peak trick-or-treating hours.
- Pay attention. While you should always remain alert when behind the wheel, you should pay extra attention to your surroundings on Halloween night. Keep a look out for children who may be unexpectedly running across the street from the sidewalk, or darting out from in between parked cars. You must also exercise extreme caution when pulling in and out of your driveway.
- Turn your lights on. Many children will be wearing dark costumes that makes it difficult to spot them, especially at night. You should turn your headlights on earlier in the day in order to better watch out for young trick-or-treaters from a distance.
- Keep your car in the garage. There is a serious risk of personal vehicles being vandalized on Halloween night (October 31), as well as on Devil's Night (October 30). In order to keep your vehicle safe from slashed tires, smashed windows, key scratches, graffiti or damage caused by projectiles such as eggs and pumpkins it’s best to keep your car securely locked in a storage garage or other enclosure. If your vehicle is victim to an act of vandalism you may be covered under your auto insurance policy if you have comprehensive coverage.
If you have any questions about recommended coverage for homeowners and motorists on Halloween, or if you have any questions about your existing policy coverage, contact your OTIP insurance broker at 1-888-892-4935