RHODE ISLAND — It’s Halloween, the annual evening of costumes and free candy, with balmy October temps and clear skies forecasted, and state health officials have some Halloween safety tips to make sure the night is more treat than trick.
The local forecast for Halloween evening tonight promises high temps near 50 degrees and a northeast wind 5 to 9 mph, those warm temps may drop as the night continues, so an extra layer under your costume might be a good idea, and a quick review of safety tips couldn’t hurt.
For adults, the RI State Police warn of sobering Halloween statistics. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2011, 38 percent of all fatalities on Halloween night involved an impaired driver, and 11 percent of those involved a pedestrian.
State Police remind motorists they can immediately report dangerous drivers or hazardous roadway conditions by dialing 911 on their mobile phones.
RI State Police, Health Department, CDC Halloween Safety Tips
Driving during Halloween?
To ensure a safe and happy Halloween, RI State Police and RI Department of Health remind motorists:
- Use caution while behind the wheel.
- Slow down and be alert in residential areas
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
- Eliminate distractions so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
- “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
- Always designate a sober driver and plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night if you plan on celebrating Halloween with alcohol.
- Use your community’s sober ride program or take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact law enforcement.
- If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make safe travel arrangements to where they are going
- Drive slowly in residential neighborhoods.
- Watch for trick-or-treaters at intersections, medians, and on curbs.
- Watch for trick-or-treaters darting from between parked cars.
- Enter and exit driveways carefully.
- If a teen driver is in your household, consider not allowing that person to drive after dark on Halloween. If you have a teen driver who will be driving, talk about precautions and set specific rules.
In keeping with the adult cautionary theme, the CDC released the following tips for Halloween revelers:
Expecting trick-or-treaters or party guests?
Follow these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for everyone:
- Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks. For guests, offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.
- Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could cause someone to fall.
- Keep candle-lit jack o’lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
- Remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely.
Finally, there are, of course, some things for trick-or-treaters and their chaperones to bear in mind:
- Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
- Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
- Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
- Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the treats you eat.
- Hold a flashlight to help you see and others see you. WALK, don’t run.
- Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent skin and eye irritation.
- Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible.
- Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses
- Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
- Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
- Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
- Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers.
- Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.
Halloween street smarts
- Always accompany young children on their trick-or-treating rounds. Research shows that evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. are the riskiest times of day for child pedestrians.
- If your older children are trick-or-treating without you, plan and review a route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
- Older children should travel in groups and create a “buddy system.”
- Talk with kids about the risks of distracted walking. This includes texting, talking on or looking at a phone, and listening to music.
- Cross the street as a group at crosswalks.
- Stay on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
- Caution kids to never enter a home or a car for a treat.
Costume safety tips
- Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
- Look for “flame resistant” on the costume labels. Wigs and accessories should also clearly indicate this.
- Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes and blocking vision.
- Consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives to masks.
- Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye exam and a prescription from an eye care professional.
Healthy Halloween tips
- Consider offering non-edible goodies to trick-or-treaters (such as spider rings, vampire fangs, pencils, or bubbles). Halloween is one of the trickiest days of the year for children with food allergies.
- Wait until children are home to sort and check treats before eating them.
- Enjoy sweets in moderation.
Continue mosquito bite precautions
This has been a higher-than-average risk year for mosquito-borne diseases, including Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), in southeastern New England. Rhode Island is still in mosquito season until the first hard frost of the year, which Rhode Island has not had yet. (A hard frost is when temperatures are below 32 degrees for three consecutive hours.) For that reason, Rhode Islanders who will be outdoors on Halloween should continue to take mosquito bite prevention measures. These prevention measures are most important at sundown (and sunrise).
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use EPA-approved bug spray with at least 20% DEET. Alternatively, people can use a bug spray with one of the following active ingredients: Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. People should not use bug spray with DEET on infants under two months of age.
- Put mosquito netting over baby carriages.
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