A guy we know who worked on those enormous beer advertising campaigns of the 1980s says he can remember seeing Halloween mutate into a holiday that got grown-ups as fired up as children. “Over the course of a very few years back then, we saw Halloween become a big partying time for adults. Guiding the children through trick-or-treat looked like it was taking a back seat.”
We should keep two effects of that evolution in mind as we observe Halloween Safety Month this year. First, we adults need a refresher course in shepherding the kids safely, and second, we need to observe some safety tips ourselves.
About the Young Ones
Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween as on any other day of the year. And October ranks second, closely behind July, for total motor vehicle deaths. It’s a dangerous time to drive, walk, or be anywhere near an intersection, or even a parking lot, statistics show.
Costumes and visibility play a part in those sad statistics. Many Halloween costumes are dark, offering little reflection to be seen by drivers. And the costumed ones often lose peripheral vision with their superhero, ghost, or goblin masks. Ever try to look both ways while wearing a Hulk mask? It takes extra effort. And extra effort is hard to come by when the enthusiasm of trick-or-treat is in play.
The impairment of drivers is, perhaps, the saddest part of the story. Now that Halloween triggers the party mood of grownups, the quality of driving we see on America’s roads is even more suspect than ever. In fact, 44% of fatal car accidents on Halloween involve elevated blood-alcohol levels, and about a quarter of pedestrian fatalities were caused by a drunk driver. Add to that the relatively new factor of “distracted driving,” the imposition of mobile digital devices being used to coordinate the gatherings and celebrations, and an already-dangerous day turns downright deadly.
A Vital Reminder for Grown-Ups
One of the newest Halloween safety tips is to leave the mobile device at home, if you’re that parent guiding the trick-or-treaters. Behind the wheel or even on-foot, that glowing screen intrudes on the attention you should be paying to their safety.
A whole checklist of Halloween safety tips for grown-ups is available, and reviewing it should become a part of the holiday tradition. How could the stakes be higher?
The most basic safety element for Halloween is the presence of an attentive adult. Up to and even through the early teens, children need the shepherding of a grown-up who cares. Plan ahead for who has “the duty” this year. Share or take shifts if more than one parent wants to be in on the Halloween happiness firsthand. But don’t leave it to a last-minute tossup, because it is simply the most important thing you can do to help ensure a happy Halloween.
And don’t forget the well-being of the grown-up who is trying to keep up with those eager, excited, fast-moving children! If you haven’t had a checkup recently, now may be the time to do so. We’d be more than happy to help. Just call us at 843-815-6468.