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Spooky Streets: Navigating Halloween Hazards for Kids and Motorists


As more than 41 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 get ready to trick-or-treat this Halloween, their risk of being injured by motorists greatly increases. In fact, past AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analysis of pedestrian fatality data has shown Halloween night (between 4 p.m. and midnight) is the deadliest night of the year for pedestrians. Because excited trick-or-treaters often forget about safety, motorists and parents must be even more alert.

Parents and children walking down sidewalk, dressed in Halloween costumes

Here are some tips for helping keep young ones safe on Halloween:


  • Slow down! A pedestrian is nearly twice as likely to be killed if they’re hit by a car traveling 30 mph, versus a car traveling at 25 mph, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Just 5 mph can be the difference between life and death. 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.
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals.
  • Watch for trick-or-treaters. Be aware that they may not be paying attention to traffic and may cross mid-block or between parked cars. Scan the road ahead.
  • Carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys.
  • Turn on your headlights to make yourself more visible – even in the daylight.
  • Plan ahead. Check Beggars’ Night dates for municipalities you drive through each day.

Parents giving out candy on Halloween


  • Ensure an adult or older, responsible youth is available to supervise children under age 12.
  • Plan and discuss the route your trick-or-treaters will follow.
  • 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.
  • Establish a time for children to return home.
  • Tell children not to eat any treats until they get home.
  • Review trick-or-treating safety precautions, including pedestrian and traffic safety rules.
  • Make sure Halloween costumes are flame-retardant and visible with retro-reflective material.
  • Ensure costumes fit well. Watch the length of billowy costumes to help avoid tripping.

Children dressed in Halloween costumes in doorway getting candy


  • Be bright at night – wear retro-reflective tape on costumes and treat buckets to improve visibility to motorists and others.
  • Wear disguises that don’t obstruct vision and avoid facemasks. Instead, use nontoxic face paint. Also, watch the length of costumes to help avoid tripping.
  • Ensure any props are flexible and blunt-tipped to avoid injury from tripping or horseplay.
  • Carry a flashlight containing fresh batteries and place it face down in the treat bucket to free up one hand. Never shine it into the eyes of oncoming drivers.
  • 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.

Pumpkin and spider sitting on a bar with people in background

Nearly half (45 percent) of Halloween crash fatalities involve alcohol-impaired drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That includes about a quarter (23 percent) of Halloween pedestrian fatalities. When celebrating this Halloween, AAA recommends:

  • Make plans to get home safely. Designate a sober driver, call a cab or ride sharing service, or stay overnight.
  • Host responsibly. Ohio’s host liability law holds those who serve alcohol liable for injury or death that occurs due to their drunken guests. When hosting a party, offer alternatives to alcohol.

So whether you’re a motorist, a parent, trick-or-treater, partygoer or host it’s everyone’s responsibility to be on the lookout. Follow these tips and enjoy a safe Halloween.