AAA Texas is reminding trick-or-treaters, their families, and everyone celebrating Halloween about how to avoid common hazards this year.
Since Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, celebrations will likely be happening all weekend, so drivers, pedestrians, and homeowners need to stay alert.
According to AAA, those celebrating Halloween should avoid using lit candles or open flames as decoration as they present a fire hazard as they can easily be knocked over by excited trick or treaters. LED products with working wires and connectors are in good shape are exposed should be used instead.
Make sure that all smoke detectors are in good working order with fresh batteries, AAA said.
Walkways around the home should be free of obstructions, such as water hoses, newspapers, garden tools, toys, rocks, or Halloween decorations. AAA said homeowners should also check that sidewalks and porches do not have large cracks or uneven surfaces that could cause trick or treaters to fall.
AAA said thieves may look for a window of opportunity while homeowners are away celebrating Halloween, so all doors and windows should be locked, homes should be well lit, and home security systems should be activated.
Drivers should avoid neighborhood shortcuts or cutting through residential streets where trick-or-treaters are likely to be present, AAA said. When providing directions to a party, should try to avoid sending guests through neighborhoods.
The latest news from around North Texas.
According to AAA, drivers should watch for children walking on streets, medians, and curbs as they may be wearing dark costumes and may not pay attention to traffic and cross mid-block or between parked cars.
Drivers should also slow down. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian is more than twice as likely to be killed if they're hit by a car traveling at 35 miles per hour compared to 25 miles per hour.
AAA also reminded drivers to drive sober. Alcohol-impaired drivers make up about one-third of all motor vehicle deaths resulting in an average of one death every 45 minutes. Always designate a sober driver if you plan to drink, AAA said.
AAA said parents and pedestrians should trick-or-treat in groups. Parents should accompany young trick-or-treaters at least until the age of 12, AAA said.
Parents should also review safety precautions with children, AAA said. These precautions should include traffic safety rules such as staying on the sidewalk, crossing the street at crosswalks, avoiding walking in front of, behind, or between parked cars, and stopping at driveways to make sure no vehicles are coming in and out.
AAA also said to choose highly visible costumes. This includes light, bright and reflective costumes that are easy to see. Add reflective tape to costumes and treat buckets and bags to increase visibility.
Costumes should not obstruct vision or be easy to trip over. AAA also said to opt for non-toxic face paint instead of masks.
According to AAA, trick or treaters should get a flashlight with fresh batteries that can help trick-or-treaters see and be seen. These flashlights should not be directed at someone's eyes, including those of passing motorists.
Drivers should buckle up and use appropriate car seats while driving, AAA said. Children exit and enter on the passenger side of the vehicle.
For those who plan to celebrate Halloween events, AAA recommended that partygoers make plans to get home safely. If celebrating with alcohol, arrange for a designated driver, cab or ride sharing service to be available to and from the party location.
Partygoers can also consider an overnight stay, AAA said. Staying overnight at a friend's home or a hotel within walking distance of the festivities helps to reduce the risk of drunk driving.
AAA said if you are hosting a party with alcohol, compile a list of phone numbers including local cab companies and organizations offering designated driver services to have available if guests need a safe way home.
Partygoers should also consider designated drivers and offer alternatives to alcohol, AAA said. Plan to have non-alcoholic drink options available and serve plenty of food so partygoers do not drink on empty stomachs.