Halloween is upon us. Parents and children are urged keep safety in mind while out getting those sweets treats and having fun with friends, Great Bend Police Lt. Scott Bieberle said. Halloween fun can turn frantic in a hurry when motorists fail to be aware of their surroundings, or children become distracted when trick-or-treating.
According to AAA, children are four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year. The holiday ranks as the third-deadliest day of the year for pedestrians, with one-third of crash fatalities involving pedestrians.
“We want everyone to be safe this Halloween,” Bieberle said. “Here in Great Bend we see more mischief on the weekends than we do during the week. It seems that more people are out during the weekend so we see more stuff going on.”
Extra officers will be on duty throughout the town and especially along Broadway where most of the holiday-related issues occur, he said.
Safety tips from the Great Bend Police Department and AAA.
• Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals. Drive at least 5 miles per hour below the posted speed limit to give yourself extra time to react to children who may dart into the street.
• Look for children crossing the street. They may not be paying attention to traffic and may cross the street mid-block or between parked cars.
• Carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys.
• Turn your headlights on to make yourself more visible – even in the daylight.
• Broaden your scanning by looking for children left and right into yards and on front porches.
• Make sure Halloween costumes are flame-retardant and light in color to improve visibility.
• Be bright at night – wear retro-reflective tape on costumes and on treats buckets.
• Wear disguises that don’t obstruct vision, and avoid face masks. Instead, use nontoxic face paint. Also, watch the length of billowy costumes to help avoid tripping.
• Ensure any props are flexible and blunt-tipped to avoid injury from tripping or horseplay.
• Ask an adult or older child to supervise children under age 12.
• Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along established routes.
• Teach children to stop only at well-lit houses and to never to enter a stranger’s home or garage.
• Review trick-or-treating safety precautions, including pedestrian and traffic safety rules.
• Stay on sidewalks and avoid walking in streets if possible.
• If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
• Look both ways and listen for traffic before crossing the street.
• Cross streets only at the corner, and never cross between parked vehicles or mid-block.
• Trick-or-treat in a group if someone older cannot go with you.
• Tell your parents where you are going.
• Carry a flashlight containing fresh batteries, and place it face down in the treats bucket to free up one hand. Never shine flashlights into the eyes of oncoming drivers.