Halloween is one of Iowa’s most widely celebrated traditions. For children, Halloween brings sweet treats and fun, but it also can be dangerous for them.

According to the National Safety Council, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year. The risk for injury increases as celebrations often occur after dark. However, other Halloween traditions can cause limitations for children and motorists including masks restricting vision, costumes limiting visibility, street-cross safety that is often neglected, and high volumes of vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

To support the important role that public safety plays in keeping children safe and healthy during Halloween traditions, Governor Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation declaring the week of October 28 through November 1, 2019, as "Halloween Safety Week in Iowa".

As Iowa communities across the state prepare to host beggars’ nights with thousands of children and parents walking door-to-door, the Iowa Department of Public Safety offers these Halloween Safety Tips to increase safety...

Children:
Keep your route on sidewalks and stay with adults or a designated older, responsible youth.
Don’t stand at curbs, or run across intersections and driveways.
Cross at established crosswalks and obey traffic signals.
Stay with your trick-or-treat buddy or group.
Only approach lighted houses and never enter a stranger’s home or vehicle.
Consider wearing Halloween make-up instead of masks. If wearing a mask, ensure you can breathe well and enlarge eye holes to increase vision.
Add reflective tape to your costume to be seen by motorists.
Tell your parents your route and stick to it in case you need to be found.

Motorists
Be prepared to stop for children dressed in dark clothing walking in roadways and standing at curbs.
Reduce speed and watch for children darting from parked cars and crossing streets, driveways, intersections and medians.
Eliminate distractions from devices.
Abstain from drugs and alcohol, which can impair vision and slow reaction times.
Lock your vehicle and remove all valuable property if it will be unattended.

Parents
Ensure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for children under age 12.
Don’t “trick-or-drink” when escorting your children during festivities.
Make homemade costumes with fire retardant clothing that contain reflective materials or tape.
Instruct your children to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route.
Teach your children to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lit and never to enter a stranger’s home or vehicle.
Establish your child’s return time.

Homeowners
Use battery-operated candles if possible. If using flame candles in pumpkins, place the pumpkin far from routes where children will be walking or standing.
If you must leave your home in a vehicle – or are returning home after dark – watch for children around driveways and darting out between parked cars.
Keep your overhead garage doors closed if you’re not supervising the area.

Have a fun and safe Halloween!