Although Halloween is meant to be a time to let loose for both kids and adults, sometimes people overindulge.
Nearly half of all traffic fatalities on Halloween involve alcohol, and almost a quarter of pedestrian deaths on Halloween are caused by a drunk driver.
Those numbers are even higher when the holiday falls on a weekend, like it does this year.
So how can you and the kids stay safe without calling off trick-or-treating altogether?
- If possible, avoid residential neighborhoods during peak trick-or-treating hours—even while sober. It's easy to get distracted by all of the costumes, decorations and groups of people.
- Drive extra slow, even if you don't see any pedestrians. Children often wear dark costumes, and it can be hard to slow down until it's too late.
- Offer to be a designated driver for others. Yes, it might not be as fun...but you may be the only person preventing someone from driving home drunk.
- Make sure at least part of your or your child's costume is highly visible. Sometimes a bright orange candy bucket isn't enough.
- Don't mix alcohol with trick-or-treating. Remember that you'll most likely cross the road several times, and you'll want to be fully aware when you do.
- If it's not possible to walk on the sidewalk, make sure to walk in the opposite direction of traffic so you'll be able to react to distracted drivers.
- Be sure to offer non-alcoholic options for guests.
- Never provide alcohol to those under the age of 21.
- Make sure everyone has a designated driver well ahead of time, or at least offer to call taxis for anyone unable to make it home.
While Halloween isn't as dangerous as sensationalist news reports make it out to be, you still have to use your head.
Any holiday that mixes pedestrians, darkness and alcohol doesn't have much room for error—so be responsible and stay safe.