It's Halloween and up and down the country children and parents are preparing outfits and treats in time for the annual round of neighbourhood trick or treating.
However, whether they are headed out with friends or you are still accompanying them, the dark evenings and potentially bad weather can mean treacherous conditions when lots of small children are running around in the dark (likely all the more excitable thanks to the addition of sweet treats).
I therefore wanted to share some simple tips to help ensure their evening is the fun celebration it should be, while also as safe as possible for all involved.
While a witch dressed all in black may be appropriate for the evening's festivities, it is in fact a nightmare for road safety and ensuring children can be seen in the dark. Especially as they are likely to be crossing many roads and walking up driveways, some form of reflective wear is a must to ensure that they are not missed by driver's headlights. Carrying a torch can also help making them more noticeable on dark streets, and help them find their way.
A brightly coloured costume is preferable, but whatever guise they insist on reflective tape can be added to all outfits as a means of making sure the headlights will pick up them up whatever they're wearing. You could even insist they are in fact spooky light strips to scare off ghouls...
Safety in numbers
Heading out in a group will help improve safety, although having an accompanying adult is obviously preferable. As well as making sure they stick to the designated and known route, an adult can make sure to supervise those who may not be as road savvy as others.
Older children often do insist on heading out alone, however if they do they should let you know exactly where they are going and what time they can be expected back. Also reiterate the need to remember stranger danger, and that they know not to enter anyone's house or accept a lift from strangers. Carrying a mobile phone in a pocket or bag will also mean you can check in on where they are, and they can quickly get in contact should any emergencies arise.
The (Halloween) Highway Code
Making sure your children are familiar with the Highway Code is good advice to entrench all year round, but especially so when walking around on Halloween. When crossing the road, it should be drummed in that they must always use designated pedestrian crossings and wait until vehicles have stopped moving before starting to cross. Difficult autumn driving conditions can substantially increase a car's stopping distance, so keeping to this rule is key.
If you are with them then also be sure to set a good example and keep away from the kerb, while always reiterating the need to stop, look and listen. If you are taking out other parents children, make sure all understand these rules before you set out, to ensure there are no surprises once you're out in the neighbourhood.
Halloween is a fantastic night of fantasy and fun, and one which many children look forward to all year round. Spirits will be high so making sure to follow these simple steps will ensure it is a night they remember for all the right reasons.
Do you have any other tips for ensuring Halloween trick or treating goes safely? Please share them in the comments.
About the author
Martyn Gilbert is the Chief Information Officer at Spencers Solicitors and has worked in the legal industry for over 18 years, developing processes and systems to assist lawyers in helping injured people.
Martyn's last blog was The most dangerous six months of your career