The monsters might be crepe paper, but the hazards can be real.
Halloween can be a dangerous night for parents, children and drivers, local safety experts warn.
They’re asking parents to make a plan for the night’s festivities and to choose children’s costumes carefully. They also remind people that many seasonal decorations are flammable.
Drivers should slow down and use extra caution during Halloween festivities, said Autumn Waite, spokeswoman for Snohomish County Fire District 7 in Clearview.
Remember that children may not see you and they may not be paying attention, Waite said.
“Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways,” she said.
The Washington State Patrol also warns drivers to stay off the roads if they decide to drink.
“Troopers will arrest you if you are in costume or not,” trooper Keith Leary said.
Because Halloween is on a Monday this year, people and children might be celebrating all weekend, said Alison Caton, public educator for Snohomish County Fire District 8 in Lake Stevens.
Parents should check any costumes before their children head out, Caton said.
Children should not wear flammable costumes or masks, she said. Masks obstruct children’s vision. Face paint and makeup are safer options. Everyone who goes trick-or-treating should carry a flashlight.
Children under 12 should only trick-or-treat with an adult, Waite said.
Parents should pin a slip of paper with the child’s name, address and phone number inside a pocket in case the child gets lost, Leary said.
If a child’s costume must include a make-believe weapon, make sure any knifes, guns or swords are made of soft materials and are clearly fake, said Christian Davis, a battalion chief with North County Regional Fire Authority. Make sure children know not to enter anyone’s home.
If children are old enough to go out alone, parents should help them stick to a pre-planned route with good lighting, Lynnwood police spokeswoman Shannon Sessions said. Avoid houses that have the porch lights turned off.
Parents also should check all treats and toss any that seem sketchy, she said.
In Monroe, firefighters plan to hand out reflective stickers in the Foothills and Mount Forest neighborhoods, Fire Marshal Mike Fitzgerald said. The stickers make trick-or-treaters more visible to drivers.
In north county, firefighters will have candy and stickers available for visitors at fire stations in Bryant, Warm Beach and Freeborn, Davis said.
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Only trick-or-treat in familiar, well-lit areas.
Cross streets at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look before crossing and walk, don’t run.
Make eye contact with drivers and watch for cars turning or backing up.
Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
Never dart into the street or cross between parked cars.
Wear light-colored, flame-retardant costumes decorated with reflective tape or stickers.
Wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes to prevent trips and falls.
Carry a flashlight or glow stick so drivers can see you.
Source: Safe Kids Snohomish County