TOPEKA (KSNT) – Halloween is just around the corner, and this year’s calendar has it landing on a Friday, causing an expected rise in the number of partygoers and trick-or-treaters taking to the streets. AAA urges revelers both young and old to make advance plans to stay safe.
“When Halloween falls during the middle of the work week, parties and events are spread out over several days to include the weekend,” said Jim Hanni, AAA Executive Vice President, Public Affairs. “With Halloween on a Friday this year, most festivities are expected to take place that evening—putting a large number of adult partygoers on the road the same night as trick-or-treaters.”
Nearly a third of Americans will attend an adult-oriented Halloween party this year, reports the National Confectioners Association; and children are four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control.
In Kansas, according to the most recent published Kansas Department of Transportation Traffic Accident Facts, Kansas averaged 658 Halloween crashes, 2008-2011 and 198 injuries. The 2011 Halloween Friday through Monday holiday experienced 16 per cent more accidents than the average Friday through Monday reporting period for 2011, 19 percent more injury accidents and 38 percent more alcohol-related injury accidents. The holiday rivals the Kansas Thanksgiving holiday accident volume in Kansas.
“Unfortunately we also see a sharp rise in the number of motor vehicle fatalities on Halloween when it is on a weekend, so it’s critical for both motorists and pedestrians to take extra caution and make sure this is a safe Halloween for everyone,” said Hanni.
Motor vehicle fatalities increase 37 percent on average when October 31 is on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday compared to other days of the week, according to the past decade of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
AAA suggests partygoers and trick-or-treaters reduce their risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash by doing some advance planning.
Partygoers & Hosts
- Make plans to get home safely. If intending to consume alcohol, make plans to get home safely by selecting a designated driver or ensuring cab service is available from the party location.
- Consider an overnight stay. If attending a party at a friend’s home, consider asking to stay overnight. If participating in festivities in a downtown or commercial area, look into hotel accommodations within walking distance. Many hotels offer special Halloween weekend rates and promotions.
- Have safe transportation options ready. If hosting a party with alcohol, compile a list of phone numbers including local cab companies and organizations offering designated driver services to have readily available should guests need a safe way home.
- Plan your travel route carefully. Try to avoid cutting through residential areas that will likely have a large number of trick-or-treaters. If providing directions to a party, make sure to not route guests through residential areas unnecessarily.
- Take care of designated drivers and offer alternatives to alcohol. Plan to have non-alcoholic drink options available for designated drivers and others.
Trick-or-Treaters & Parents
- Select highly visible costumes. Look for light, bright and reflective costumes that make trick-or-treaters easy to see. Add reflective tape to costumes and treat buckets and bags to increase visibility.
- Ensure costumes fit well. Have trick-or-treaters try on, walk and play in costumes and shoes in advance to check fit. Make sure nothing comes loose or might cause the child to trip. Check that wigs or other accessories do not obstruct the child’s view.
- Review safety precautions with children. Include traffic safety rules in the review such as stay on the sidewalk, cross the street at crosswalks, avoid walking in front of, behind or between parked cars and stop at driveways to make sure no vehicles are coming in and out.
- Plan trick-or-treating route and supervision in advance. Avoid areas with heavy vehicle traffic and look for well-lit streets with sidewalks. Make arrangements for an adult or a responsible teen to accompany younger trick-or-treaters.
- Get a flashlight with fresh batteries. A flashlight can help trick-or-treaters see and be seen, but it should never be directed at someone’s eyes including those of passing motorists.