Halloween is among the most beloved holidays for children and families. Kids love dressing in costumes and trick-or-treating. However, many children are struck by cars every year during Halloween, and there are other risks that they might face when they head out to have fun. Careful planning can help families in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to keep their kids safe. Here are some tips that parents can use to make sure that their children enjoy an injury-free and fun holiday.
1. Consider a local “Trunk or Treat” celebration.
Many parents may not know their neighbors well or live in areas in which the homes are very far apart. They might hesitate to allow their children to wander from home to home when they are unfamiliar with their neighbors or when the distance between homes makes doing so impractical. One solution is taking kids to a trunk-or-treat celebration. These events are normally held in church or school parking lots. People park their trucks, SUVs, or cars and decorate the trunks so that children can go from vehicle to vehicle to collect candy. With parental supervision, children can be kept safe from strangers. The location in parking lots can also help to minimize any dangers from passing motorists who might not be paying attention.
2. Wear bright clothing or costumes.
Trick-or-treating normally starts when the sun starts going down. However, dusk is one of the most dangerous times for pedestrians because it is more difficult for motorists to see them. Choose brightly-colored costumes for your children, and wear brightly-colored clothing while you take them around. If your child’s costume is dark, add reflective tape so that your child can be seen more easily.
3. Stay together.
Parents should always stay together with their children when they are trick-or-treating. Do not park at the end of the block while your children run from house to house. Walk with them, and make sure that they walk along the sides of the road instead of in the road itself. Do not let your children run back and forth across the street. Instead, walk up one side of the block, carefully cross at intersections, and walk back down the other side of the block to where you are parked. This can help to keep your children from getting hit by motorists when they cross the streets. Staying with your children can also prevent them from encountering strangers who might not have good intentions.
4. Keep to a familiar neighborhood.
Sticking to a familiar neighborhood when taking your kids trick-or-treating is a good idea. This might help you to know the houses to avoid and which to stop by. Being familiar with cross-streets and the general traffic patterns in the neighborhood can also help you to anticipate what motorists might do in different areas of the neighborhood and to be aware of the established speed limits in the neighborhood.
5. Have a plan for if you get separated.
One of the most heart-dropping experiences that parents can have is losing track of their children in crowded, public areas. You can cut down on your anxiety and that of your children by planning for what to do if you become separated. Make sure that your children have your phone number plugged in on speed dial and instruct them to stay in front of a house and call you if they do not know where you are.
6. Let an adult check ALL of the candy.
While kids like to snack on candy as they receive it, don’t let them. Instead, an adult should check all of the candy after you get home before the children are allowed to dive in. Remove any candy that is partially unwrapped and take away anything that looks suspicious.
7. Make your property safe.
If you plan to give candy to trick-or-treaters instead of heading out with your children for the evening, you need to make sure that your property is safe for the visitors that you will receive. Make sure that your walkways are well-lit, and clear off your porch to ensure that there are no tripping hazards. Remember that kids wearing masks have poor coordination. It might be a good idea to set up a table and chair in your yard so that you can hand out candy without the children having to climb stairs and navigate walkways. If you have pets, keep them locked well away so that trick-or-treaters are not bitten. Taking steps to make your property safe for visitors can help you to avoid potential liability. Finally, it is okay to choose not to participate. If you don’t want children coming to your door, keep your porch light turned off and close your blinds or curtains.
8. Have adult Halloween fun safely.
If your Halloween plans involve heading out to a party with your friends or family members, make sure that you have a designated driver if you plan to have any drinks. There are many pedestrians out on the roads on Halloween. If you hit a child or adult while you are impaired by alcohol or drugs, you risk facing a DUI charge and the potential of punitive damages if anyone is injured. Always have a back-up plan for your evening so that you can avoid driving home impaired. Consider using a ride-share app or taxi if you do not have a designated driver. If you have a willing friend who is not going out, talk to him or her and ask if it would be okay for you to call if you do not have a safe way to get home.
If you plan to call an Uber to get home, make sure that the driver matches the photo and that the car that stops has the same make, model, and license plate as the information sent to you in the app. Call someone to let him or her know when your ride arrives and the approximate time that it will take for you to reach your home. If your Uber driver is involved in an accident, you may need to talk to a lawyer for help with figuring out your insurance claim.
9. Be safe during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a new safety concern for Halloween. Trick-or-treating or heading out to a party might mean that you are risking being exposed to the virus. This might be a good year to plan an at-home celebration with your immediate family instead of heading out. Consider creative ways to make the evening fun. For example, you can bake cupcakes and have your children help you decorate them, decorate the inside of your home, play scary movies, and provide plenty of sweet treats for everyone to enjoy.
10. Know what to do if someone is hurt, is involved in an accident, or is arrested for a DUI.
If things go awry despite your careful planning, you should know what to do. If someone in your trick-or-treating group is hurt or is involved in an accident, you should immediately call 911 and remain at the scene until help arrives. Make sure that you get prompt medical attention, and avoid making statements to the at-fault driver’s insurance company without talking to a lawyer. If you are arrested for a DUI, you should avoid making incriminating statements and promptly contact an experienced attorney. Whether you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else on Halloween or are facing DUI charges, the attorneys at The Lovely Law Firm are here to help. Call attorneys Justin M. Lovely and Amy S. Lawrence at 843.281.7283 to request a consultation.