Halloween may seem like a commercially contrived holiday, but that doesn’t matter to children who look forward to satisfying their sugar cravings. We should make sure it’s a safe time as well.
The town of Garner is doing its part by offering a safe, off-the-street trick-or-treating option on Halloween afternoon. And, as well attended as that event is each year, there will be multiples more children walking through neighborhood streets on Halloween night.
It does not help safety efforts that Halloween falls on a Friday night this year, a time when people are more likely to drive unsafely as they unwind from a week of work or school. And, it does not help that Halloween traditionally involves walking through residential neighborhoods where the lighting is not as good as it is in other parts of town.
So, if we want to avoid horrific headlines about a child being hurt on Halloween, there are a few basic, common-sense things we can do to avoid the problem.
Start, by staying off the roads during typical trick-or-treating hours. Run your errands before it gets dark this Friday and stay in. If you’re not a candy-giver, simply turn off your porch light and most of the people out trick-or-treating will walk past your home without bothering you, so there should be little concern about being at home during the height of the fun.
And, expand your definitiion of what typical trick-or-treating hours are. Most children are off the streets by 9 p.m., but invariably, some children want to make a run through one more neighborhood and you might see them as late s 9:30. Exercise caution longer than you think you might need to.
If you do have to be on the roads during trick-or-treat time, allow yourself a few extra minutes to get where you’re going. Use that extra time to drive more slowly. Don’t be in a rush to get from Point A to Point B.
Keep your bright lights on when there’s not another vehicle coming toward you. Those high beams light up a much larger area, including the sides of the street where a child might be walking.
If all this seems elementary, well, it is. But sometimes it does us good to hear the obvious. Practicing safety during Halloween is an obvious goal to shoot for. Too often, though, people don’t do it. Don’t be that person this year.