Wednesday is Halloween, day kids often look forward to going out in costume to trick-or-treat.
However, trick-or-treating can be dangerous. According to the State Fire Marshal’s office, twice the number of kids get hit by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year.
It’s the one night out of the year where kids dress in costume and go door-to-door to ask for candy.
But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reminding both motorists and pedestrians to use extra caution on Halloween night.
Due to the high number of drunk drivers, and the increase of people on the streets — Halloween has a scary history.
From 2013-2017, 131 people died in drunk driving crashes on Halloween. Which is why local law enforcement is urging people to use extra caution.
A trick-or-treating mother and her 9-year-old son were struck and killed on a Westfield street on Halloween in 2008.
Police recommend carrying light sticks and flashlights, traveling in groups, crossing the road at crosswalks, make sure children can see through any masks, and wearing costumes with reflective tape to make trick-or-treaters more visible to drivers.
You can also help children be safe by making sure your home is well lit with a clear path to the door and making sure children don’t have trailing clothing on their costumes that may cause them to fall.
“I just suggest going with groups and going to places that you know, houses that you know, maybe friends that you know and just have fun,” said Erica Houle of Northampton. “And I love the Northampton downtown trick or treating because that is one of the most fun things to do.”
Additionally, if you have to walk in the street make sure you walk in the opposite direction of traffic so that cars can see you easily.
“Keep your kids close, hold their hands all the time,” said Anderson Paes of Conway. “Make sure you keep that visual. Kids like to run around. My kid loves to run around, but I make sure I’m always behind her or pat her or something to make sure she is always around me.”
If you’re driving on Halloween be sure to drive slowly and watch for children who may not be using crosswalks or crossing at corners.
To prevent Halloween decorations from catching fire the State Fire Marshall’s office recommends using battery-operated tea lights instead of real candles and making sure all parts of costumes are flame retardant.
When you get home the FDA recommends not letting children eat candy until you have had the chance to inspect it at home and to check the candy for signs of tampering such as discoloration, pinholes, or tears in wrappers.
You should throw away anything that looks suspicious.
Now, of course, Halloween is a fun time — you just need to be smart when it comes to going door-to-door.