Halloween can go from “Boo!” to “boo-hoo” in a flash
With pirates, superheroes, zombies, and other creatures soon to be roaming the streets of your neighborhood, now is a great time for a quick refresher on how to protect yourself, trick-or-treaters, and your pets.
ON THE ROAD
Tonight, you’re sharing the roads with some wickedly wonderful and wildly unpredictable creatures—children! They may be dressed in dark clothing, dart out in traffic, or even unload from cars that have barely stopped. You’ll need to:
• Stay extra alert and super focused
• Drive more slowly than usual, even slower than the posted speed limit
• Turn off your cell phone, or stow it in the glove compartment
• If your phone needs attention, pull over carefully before answering/texting
• Use your hazard lights if you’re dropping off children
• Don’t pass a stopped car without making sure it’s not dropping off children
• Expand your street scanning to include porches and sidewalks so kids don’t “pop up” unexpectedly
• Use your headlights even if it’s daylight; it helps if they can see you clearly, too
• Look out for costumed pets which are even lower-to-the-ground than children
Be sure to talk safety with your kids before the excitement of the evening takes over. Help them choose a costume with good visibility and perhaps a flashlight or glow-in-the-dark element if your neighborhood goes trick-or-treating after dark. Safety tips for kids:
• Make sure you stop, look, AND LISTEN for cars before you cross the street
• Always look for moving cars before you exit a stopped car
• Stay with the grownup who is supervising the walk, or with the group you’re walking with
• Go only onto brightly lit porches; do not go inside with anyone
• Keep your flashlight or glow sticks where they’re visible
• Don’t flash your light in drivers’ eyes (it could cause an accident)
• Save your candy for when you get home so it can be checked for safety
Some dogs love trick-or-treating—the costumes, the excitement, the kids! Most cats are not overly fond of the holiday. If you’re not sure your pet will tolerate (or enjoy) a costume, dress them up and see how it goes before the big day arrives. Here are a few ways to help keep your pets safe:
• If you have indoor/outdoor cats, keep them inside beginning a few days before Halloween and for a few days afterward (Urban legend says they’re in danger of kidnapping for “pranks or rituals.” It’s not clear if it’s true, but let’s choose safety.)
• Test your pet in a new costume before you enter a parade or go trick-or-treating. Make sure they’re comfortable, can see, breathe, and are not allergic to the fabric.
• If your pet likes the costume and enjoys trick-or-treating, consider glow-in-the dark add-ons like a collar or leash. Some dog collars even light up!
• Keep Jack-o-lanterns and candles away from dogs and cats; they may be curious and get burned
• Keep harvest corn away from pets, they could choke on the cobs
• Keep pets away from a door that is constantly opening and closing so no one “escapes”
• Keep pets away from the sweets. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can be harmful to both dogs and cats. Have the Poison Control number or your vet’s number handy just in case.
If trick-or-treating is taking place in your neighborhood after dark, make sure to light up the night in every way you can. Consider car lights, porch lights, flashlights, reflective tape, and glow sticks. Have a SAFE and happy Halloween!
To learn more tips or about other solutions AAA provides motorists and their vehicles, please visit AAA.com/Automotive.
The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide any professional guidance. AAA does not guarantee any particular outcome.