Halloween safety isn’t just for kids

Oct. 31, 2019

Two children in Halloween costumes running down a sidewalk

When you think of Halloween, you probably think of kids trick-or-treating in creative costumes, not of adults partying. But Halloween remains one of the top days of the year for DWI arrests in Minnesota, and last year, there were 18 alcohol-related crashes on Halloween night. And considering that more child pedestrians are injured or killed on Oct. 31 than any other day of the year, Halloween is a night when both adults and kids need to keep safety at the top of their transplanted Frankenstein brains.

Where drunk driving is concerned, you should know that there will be extra DWI enforcement in the top 13 most dangerous drunk driving counties in Minnesota on Halloween night. You can help a loved one avoid getting a DWI arrest by offering to be a designated driver or being available to pick them up anytime or anywhere. You can protect yourself against drunk drivers by buckling up anytime you’re in a vehicle – it’s your best defense. And anytime you see drunk driving behavior, call 911. Be prepared to report the location, license plate number, and the dangerous behavior you observed.

If you’re planning to be among the partiers tonight, take a few moments to plan how you’ll get home. Call a cab or alternative ride service, take public transportation, arrange to stay at the location of the party – whatever it takes. Just know that, whatever the costs of planning a sober ride on Halloween, they far outweigh the cost of a DWI or, worse yet, taking a child’s life.

Because here’s a statistic not many people know: Pedestrians age 0 to 17 are more likely to be injured or killed on Halloween than on any other day. Over the last 15 years, 31 young pedestrians died or were injured on Halloween. The next highest number was 20.

How to prevent this fun holiday from turning tragic? As a driver, stay sober and drive carefully, especially after dark. As a parent, make sure your trick-or-treaters have flashlights or glow sticks as part of their costumes.

There are other dangers specific to Halloween you can guard against, too. Help your trick-or-treaters be careful around pumpkins with real candles inside, and avoid costumes with long or billowing fabric that could be a fire hazard. And if you’ve decorated your house for Halloween, do one last safety check. Replace those candles with glow sticks or flameless candles in your jack-o-lanterns, and be sure décor like hay, straw and corn stalks are well away from flames and other heat sources.

Whether you’re a kid or just a kid at heart, Halloween should be scary but safe. And with a few simple precautions, you’ll come away with fun memories instead of tragedy.