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John Townsend
Public Relations Manager, DC
O: (202) 481-6820 (ext. 4462108)
C: (202) 253-2171

WASHINGTON, D. C. (Friday, October 26, 2018) ––Halloween is no longer child’s play. The weekend before Halloween is anything but a “dead weekend.”  Targeting grown-ups, many Halloween parties and masquerade balls are “scheduled on weekends before the holiday falls.” It is one of the “booziest weekends” of the year, and that’s saying a lot in one of the “booziest cities” in the United States.


As excitement builds for Halloween, creative costumes and bags full of goodies become top priorities, while safety often becomes an afterthought.  Because excited trick-or-treaters often forget about safety, drivers, party-goers and parents must be even more vigilant, as the risk of being injured by moving vehicles increases greatly during Halloween festivities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that children are four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year. Adult partygoers and revelers must avoid drinking to excess even if they are hiding behind a mask of an alien, angel or apparition.


The place is populated by bar-crawlers. Avoid ‘things that go bump in the night’ and avoid getting bumped into. With an increased risk of pedestrian crashes on Halloween night, area parents are urged to take the time to make trick-or-treaters and their costumes safer and more visible to motorists,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “In addition, motorists must slow down and watch for children, as well as have a designated driver if drinking is part of your Halloween celebration. ‘Fatal drunk-driving crashes are more likely to occur on Halloween than on New Year’s Eve.’”


“2018 Halloween spending is expected to reach a total of $9 billion, the second highest Halloween spending seen post-recession,” forecasts the National Retail Federation.  For all the joy, fun, frivolity, and tomfoolery it brings, Halloween is a statistically dangerous night for drunk driving. Although Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year, many parties will be held the weekend before. Watch for soul-takers. Drivers should take into consideration that some neighborhoods have scheduled trick-or-treating for this weekend as well. The combination of drinking and increased pedestrian traffic on Halloween has been a deadly combination.  


Beyond the boo, broomsticks, and the bogeyman, there are the booze and the blood. In 2016, the Maryland Center for Traffic Safety Analysis (MCTSA) concluded that between 2011 and 2014, 47 percent of pedestrians killed were found to be alcohol and/or drug impaired, according to the police crash investigation. “It’s important to note that impaired walking can be just as deadly as impaired driving,” added Townsend.

A few scary statistics from NHTSA:


  • Children are four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year. This is especially alarming considering an estimated 40 million children between the ages of five and 14 trick-or-treated in the United States in 2014.

  • Halloween ranks as the third-deadliest day of the year for pedestrians.

  • Nearly 40 percent of fatal crashes on Halloween night involve a drunk driver.

  • One-third of Halloween crash fatalities involve a pedestrian.

  • Forty-three percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween (6:00 p.m. October 31 to 5:59 a.m. November 1) from 2009 to 2013 were in crashes involving a drunk driver.

  • On Halloween Night alone 119 people lost their lives.  (2009-2013).

  • Children out trick-or-treating, and the parents accompanying them, are also at risk, as 19 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes on Halloween night involved drunk drivers. (2009-2013).

AAA Halloween Safety Tips


  • Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals. Drive at least 5 mph 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 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 trick-or-treat buckets.

  • Wear disguises that don’t obstruct vision, and avoid facemasks. 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 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.


Party Goers

  • Arrange a safe ride home and/or designate a driver before partaking in any alcohol-related festivities.

  • Always designate a sober driver.

  • If you are drunk, take a taxi, call a sober friend/family member, use ride share or public transportation.

  • Before leaving for a party, put numbers of local cab companies and your designated driver(s) into your phone.

  • Walking impaired can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.

  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.

  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride impaired, take their keys and help them make safe travel arrangements to where they are going.


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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 59 million members nationwide and nearly 79,000 members in the District of Columbia.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit

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