As ghosts and ghouls come out to roam this Halloween, make sure your celebrations are full of frightful fun instead of disaster. A hazardous mixture of youthful excitement, festive costumes and bustling streets can lull Oklahomans into letting their guards down.
“We see an increase in traffic accidents around Halloween,” says Jeanne Mackenzie, public information officer with the Tulsa Police Department. “Pedestrian activity is a main concern.”
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, on average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reports most pedestrian fatalities occur at night, so vigilance is as important as ever.
To make sure this spooky night is safe, here are some essential tips:
Reduce distractions and be cautious
“Put down your devices and make sure to look both ways before crossing a street,” says Mac-kenzie. “Kids get excited as they go from house to house, so drivers need to be aware as well. The speed limit in residential areas is 25 miles per hour, but with the increased foot traffic on Halloween, we encourage drivers to go slower.”
Beware of what’s lurking behind you
The first 10 feet behind your vehicle pose the greatest back-over risk, especially with children. Before backing out of a driveway or parking spot, double check in all directions for little goblins and princesses.
Dress for safety
Costumes can put people at risk. Poor fitting garb can cause injury, masks can obstruct visibility and uncomfortable shoes can lead to falls.
“Face paint is always recommended over a mask, and choose good shoes that are safe for walking,” says Mackenzie. “Reflective tape, flash lights and glow sticks make you more visible.”
Go in a group
Statistics confirm you are less likely to become a victim when in a group of three or more. For young children, that group should include a responsible adult.
“Kids under 12 should have adult supervision,” Mackenzie says. “If your child is old enough to trick-or-treat [alone], remind them to trick-or-treat in well-lit, familiar areas and only at homes with a porch light on.”
Do I need to check my child’s candy?
Officer Jeanne Mackenzie says yes. Every year stories surface. While it can be hard to know the validity of the claims, she confirms there hasn’t been an incident in Tulsa. However, you never know what could happen, so err on the side of caution.
Alternatives to traditional trick-or-treating
Bash Myriad Botanical Gardens – Oct. 21
This ghoulish garden party includes games, eerie entertainment and devilishly good treats. myriadgardens.org
Haunt the Zoo
OKC Zoo – Oct. 21-22, 28-29
Costumed kids can collect candy from festive volunteers at 24 themed booths.
Tulsa Zoo – Oct. 26
The zoo welcomes families to enjoy treats, carnival games, special activities and haunted train rides.
BooHaHa in Brookside
Brookside – Oct. 28
The community can enjoy a pancake breakfast followed by a parade, costume contests and trick-or-treating.