Happy Halloween! Get ready to see plenty of costumed families around downtown Ballard today, as the merchant trick-or-treating is from 4 to 6 p.m. Afterwards, many Ballard residents will be giving out candy – here’s a map:
The Seattle Police Department says that the number of pedestrian-car accidents is much higher on Halloween, and gives the following safety tips for drivers, parents, trick-or-treaters, and homeowners.
FOR MOTORISTS & BICYCLISTS:
- Stay alert for increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic on Halloween night.
- Be patient and SLOW DOWN! Give children lots of time to cross the street. Costumes may impair their ability to see and hear you and to get out of your way quickly. Young children may lack the physical ability to cross a street quickly. They do not effectively evaluate potential traffic threats, cannot anticipate driver behavior and process sensory information more slowly than adults.
- Excited kids may forget to “stop, look and listen” before crossing the street. Since they may be trying to visit as many houses as possible within a specific time period, children could quickly dart in front of your car.
- Drive defensively. Don’t assume that a pedestrian will move in a predictable manner. Expect the unexpected.
- Be extra cautious in areas where vehicles are parked along the side of the street. Trick-or-treaters may dart into traffic from between parked cars.
- Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood. Also watch for children walking on medians and curbs.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
FOR PARENTS and CAREGIVERS:
- Trick-or-treaters should carry flashlights or “glow sticks.”
- Dress children in costumes that are light-colored and clearly visible to motorists.
- Use face paints or make-up rather than masks that could impair vision.
- Wear light-colored clothing or add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
- Small children should be accompanied by adults.
- Older children should stay in groups.
- Make sure props such as swords, scythes, pitchforks, spears, wands or knives are flexible (not rigid) with smooth or rounded tips to prevent eye or other injuries if fallen on.
- If driving children to trick-or-treat, make sure they exit vehicle on the curb side and not the traffic side.
- Instruct your children not to eat any candy until they bring it home and you examine it thoroughly. Inspect commercially wrapped candy for tampering (unusual appearance, discoloration, tiny pinholes or tears in wrappers). Discard anything suspicious. Throw out homemade treats.
- Secure identification (name, address phone number) on or within a child’s costume.
- Teach children their home phone number and how to call 9-1-1 if they become lost or have an emergency. (9-1-1 service can be dialed free from any phone).
- Don’t assume the right of way when crossing a street. Motorists may have trouble seeing you. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean they all will.
- Be very cautious of strangers. A stranger is someone you don’t know who behaves in an inappropriate way. Adults asking children for help can be potentially dangerous.
- Trick-or-treaters should only visit houses which have porch lights turned on.
- Never enter a stranger’s house or vehicle. (Parents should stress “vehicle” because some children might think it is OK to approach a van or bus.)
- Stay on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the farthest edge of the roadway facing traffic.
- Don’t run! Always walk when crossing streets or going from house to house.
- Cross streets only at corners and crosswalks. Never cross the street from between parked cars.
- Remove mask or any item restricting eyesight before crossing streets.
- Don’t take shortcuts through back alleys or parking lots.
- Look “left, right, left again” for cars before stepping off the curb to cross a street.
- Stay away from and don’t pet animals you don’t know.
- Don’t eat any treats until you get home.
- Have an adult check all candy before eating it.
- Stay focused on your surroundings. If you feel threatened, go to the nearest store or restaurant and ask to use the phone. Call parents or the police.
- Turn on your porch light. Provide ample outdoor lighting.
- Eliminate tripping hazards on your porch, yard and walkway. (Flower pots, lawn furniture, lawn decorations, bicycles, children’s toys, ladders, garden hoses, dog leashes, support wires, low tree limbs).
- Pets can be frightened by Halloween activities. Restrain or bring them indoors to protect them from cars or accidentally hurting trick-or-treaters.