Before your witches, skeletons, and Captain America look-alikes roam the streets on Halloween, have a discussion with your children about how to trick-or-treat safely. Safe Kids Larimer County and the University of Colorado Health would like to remind you that Halloween does not have to be a scary night for parents if everyone (trick-or-treaters and drivers) obeys some safety rules.
- Children under the age of 10 should trick-or-treat with an adult. Their little brains have not developed enough to understand the potential dangers around them.
- Cross the street at corners. Do NOT zigzag across the street. Kids forget that cars are still allowed to drive down the street and don’t always remember to stop and look both ways.
- Stay on the sidewalk. Many homeowners decorate their lawns with tripping hazards for trick-or-treaters and it’s the neighborly thing to do. Children should not enter anybody’s house without your permission, even for a minute or to warm up.
- Make sure the costume fits. Avoid any baggy or flimsy costumes that could pose a tripping hazard. Choose to use face paint over face masks to ensure your child can see their surroundings. If it’s expected to be cold, consider buying a costume a size or two bigger to fit over a coat.
- Be Seen. Carry a flashlight or glow sticks so you can be seen by other trick-or-treaters and drivers. Put reflective items on your costume.
Drivers can do their part to keep from bumping into the trick-or-treaters. The best way to do this is to avoid driving during trick-or-treat hours, but we know that is not always realistic. So, here are some tips for you:
- Be alert. Trick-or-treat hours normally run between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. Keep your eyes open for little ones darting across the street.
- Slow down. While this is true of all residential streets, remember when you were that age and how excited you were to get to the next house. Kids’ peripheral vision is limited and they cannot tell the distance or speed of your car.
- Drive with your lights on. This will allow others to see you and for you to see kids easier.
If you are supervising your children from your vehicle, Safe Kids recommends you park your car in the middle of the block and turn off the engine. Do NOT drive up and down the street while you are trying to watch your children as your attention will not be on the road. Do NOT back up if you can avoid it.
Once everyone gets home safely go through the treats with your child and dispose of any that are not in original, sealed packages. Decide together the rules on enjoying the treats or talk to your dentist who might have a buy-back program.
If you’d prefer to not venture out on the dark streets on Halloween there are plenty of safe events happening around the county for kids. Alternative events include:
- Lee Martinez Farm, Fort Collins (Pumpkin Patch, Treatsylvania, hayrides)
- Old Town Square, Fort Collins (Tiny Tot Halloween)
- Haunted Landfill at Garbage Garage Education Center, between Fort Collins & Loveland
- Halloween Family Fun Festival, Loveland (Safe Kids will be distributing reflective items for trick-or-treaters on Saturday, October 31)
- Gulley Greenhouse, south Fort Collins
- Area high schools host indoor activities
- Something from the Farm, south Fort Collins
- Halloween Enchanted Garden at the Gardens on Spring Creek, Fort Collins
- Halloween event at the Promenade Shops at Centerra, Loveland
For more information on Halloween Safety Tips, visit www.safekids.org. Talk to your kids today!