Each year, in the three-day period around Halloween, there are approximately 10,000 fires,
causing an average of 30 deaths, 125 injuries, and $102 million in property damage. While half of these fires are cooking-related (be careful when making those popcorn balls or that holiday potluck
dish), electrical fires and "other/accidental" fires account for a substantial number. We're all clear (hopefully) on the "lit jack o'lanterns have flames in them" thing and know not to play around
with them or stick your lit candles in dried-out pumpkins, but have you thought about your Halloween decorations? What about road safety? October is the second-deadliest month when it comes to road
vehicle accidents, with more than 3,000 deaths annually, and kids are more than twice as likely to be killed by a car during Halloween than on any other day of the year.
The following are some Halloween safety tips:
- Check to be sure that the cords on your electrical decorations aren't frayed.
- Make your decorating plans carefully so you're not plugging too many things into one
outlet or daisy chaining extension cords.
- Check battery-operated displays for safety (signs that previous years' batteries leaked
on the wiring, etc).
- Make sure you don't have the end of your extension cords lying in a pile of dried leaves
or a puddle.
- Keep walkways, sidewalks, and steps clear of tripping hazards, remembering that, between
the dark and the costumes, kids may not be able to see as well as usual.
- Make sure your walkway and porch are well lit.
Trick or treating safety (we don't do it up in
Crystal, but most of us have "little monsters" somewhere)
- Send a responsible adult with younger trick-or-treaters. (Said adult may wish to have a
cellphone along for emergencies and pictures but should keep it in their pocket except for those two uses-don't let yourself become distracted.)
- Plan older trick-or-treaters' route and return time in advance.
- Remind all trick-or-treaters not to enter strangers' houses or cars and to stick to
well-lit areas and people they know.
- No eating candy until you get home! It should be checked over in a well-lit area and
unwrapped items, allergy hazards, and choking hazards (for the little ones) removed.
- Always walk on the sidewalk (if there is one; walk on the edge of the road facing
traffic if there isn't) and cross at crosswalks or intersections. (Seventy percent of accidents occur away from intersections and crosswalks.)
- If possibly, avoid being on the road in residential areas during the time kids are out
trick-or-treating. New or inexperienced drivers should especially consider staying home.
- Watch for pedestrians on roadways, medians, and curbs, and don't assume they won't
suddenly cross the street without warning.
- Enter and exit driveways carefully.
- Keep a close eye out for children and others in dark clothing.
- Buy only fire resistant costumes, wigs, and accessories
- If possible, avoid masks, which can make it hard to see. If a mask is a necessary part
of the costume, verify that your "little monster" can breathe comfortably and see clearly in all directions.
- Make sure your trick-or-treaters can be seen. Even if they're not wearing dark clothing,
don't take any chances. Fasten reflective tape to their costumes or bags or have them carry flashlights or glow sticks.
- You should always buy non-toxic makeup, but also test all makeup on a small area of skin
first to check for allergies.
- Make sure costumes fit well and don't drag. No trip hazards here!
Be alert and cautious, and have a howling good time!
Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department