Spooky and smart: Tips on staying safe this Halloween

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Orange pumpkins, spooky skeletons. The stage is set in Roxborough for trick or treating come Thursday.

"Keep your kids close. Try to stay in an area that you know and that you're familiar with," advised parent John Chappelle, of Roxborough.

"I stay on the sidewalk to be safe," added Aubree Crossan, of Roxborough.

The forecast is calling for rain, and wet leaves could make conditions even slipperier.

A national study published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association noted pedestrian risk spikes 43 percent during Halloween.

"I do worry about how people drive. Especially when it's dark outside, if it's rainy, people tend to speed a little from stop sign to stop sign. Yeah, I try to keep them on the inside while walking, " explained Emily McCurdy, of Roxborough.

Each Halloween, PennDOT offers tips to drivers and pedestrians alike.

"I know kids are really excited, they're going to want to be running everywhere, that's where our motorists have to come in and really be extra cautious," said Safety Press Officer Robyn Briggs.

Briggs warned that masks may limit vision while trick or treating.

Cross the street as little as possible and stick to marked crossing areas if you can. Use glow sticks and flashlights. Simple adjustments to costumes enhance visibility. And, don't forget to check the candy.

Last week, an eagle-eyed mother in Middle Township spotted heroin in her child's bag after a Trunk or Treat event.

"My wife and I just automatically checked everything," Efraim Rua, of Northeast Philadelphia.

Advice to parents/children on Halloween night from PennDot:

  • Consider adding reflective tape to costumes or wearing bright colors to be easily seen by motorists in low-light conditions.

  • Avoid wearing masks that obstruct peripheral vision or remove the mask when attempting to cross at a designated crossing area.

  • Be sure to cross the road only at designated crossing areas and remember to look left-right-left before proceeding.

  • Pay attention when walking! Never look at cell phones, do not walk with earbuds or headphones on, and always be aware of your surroundings.

  • Parents should always accompany young children and make sure to hold hands when crossing the street.

  • Parents should also impress upon their children not to be out too late after dark and to never talk to strangers or approach someone they do not know.

  • Parents and/or children are encouraged to carry a flashlight to light their way and to be easier seen by motorists.

Advice to motorists on Halloween night:

  • Be aware of the dates and times that trick-or-treat events take place in your neighborhoods and plan for increased pedestrian traffic.

  • Drive at safe and slower speeds and be sure to scan the roadway in front of you for children and parents attempting to cross.

  • Avoid distractions such as cell phones and other devices and be sure to give your full attention to the road in front of you.

  • Pay extra attention at designated crossing areas and make sure that all pedestrians have finished crossing before proceeding forward.

  • Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination so as not to feel rushed or in a hurry.

  • Be aware that some costumes may be darker and harder to see so be sure to pay extra attention and adjust your speed accordingly in case you need to make a sudden stop.
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