Children are always at greater risk as pedestrians because of their shorter stature and unreliable judgment about when and where to cross streets. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of deaths among young pedestrians from 5 to 14 years of age is four times higher on Halloween, between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m.
The number of fatalities in vehicle-related crashes on Halloween in 2009 increased 16 percent, with 110 fatalities, when compared to the rest of the year, which averaged 92 fatalities per day nationwide. According to data from NHTSA, vehicle fatalities increase when Halloween falls on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
“Combine children walking after dark, candy, vision-compromising costumes, and adult partygoers on the road and you have a recipe for disaster,” said AAA Utah spokesperson Rolayne Fairclough. “Children are safer the more visible they are. There are many easy and inexpensive ways for parents to make sure that Halloween costumes are both easy for drivers to see at a distance and easy for children to see out of.”
AAA Safety Halloween Tips for Parents and Drivers
• Parents are encouraged to walk with their children door to door while trick-or-treating, showing children safe places to cross the street.
• Trick-or-treaters should always walk facing traffic if there are no sidewalks available.
• Both children and parents should wear light-colored clothing or costumes with retro-reflective material for the best visibility to drivers.
• Use face paint instead of masks for Halloween costumes. Masks can limit the ability to see and hear oncoming traffic.
• Children should carry flashlights to be seen, but should not shine them into drivers’ eyes.
• Create a map of the neighborhood so children and parents agree on the safest trick-or-treating route in advance, including only familiar neighborhoods. Go only to houses that are well-lit.
• Motorists should drive slower through neighborhoods (approximately 5 mph slower than the posted speed limit). Children dart from house to house, excited about collecting candy, and they forget about traffic and other dangers. Look for children around porches, front lawns, and other areas adjacent to the road, not just the sidewalks.