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Be scary safe: How to have a great Halloween that puts safety first

(Photo by Stuart Ramson/Invision for M&M'S/AP Images)

PHOENIX — As pretty much everyone knows, Halloween is Tuesday.

The day is traditionally reserved for a celebration of all things ghoulish — OK, candy too — but it can also prove a dangerous night as thousands in the Phoenix area take to the streets.

From darkly-clothed children to a possibly-frustrating commute, Halloween presents several serious safety concerns that have numerous authorities encouraging everyone to be scary safe.

To make things a little simpler, we broke down safety tips in the order in which you may experience the evening, from your drive home to a nightcap out with friends.

Getting home

Halloween safety will begin the second you leave the office. The Arizona Department of Transportation is encouraging commuters to plan for rush hour beginning ahead of schedule and a longer-than-normal drive home.

The freeways will likely begin filling before 4 p.m. But the drive doesn’t stop at the off-ramp.

Tim Eider with the Peoria Medical and Fire Department said people need to use a lot of caution while winding their way through haunted neighborhood streets.

“(Drive) at least 5 mph under the speed limit,” he said, adding that drivers should assume a child could pop out from behind a car at any time.

Eider also cautioned against using high beams to avoid other drivers and to park in a driveway, if possible, to keep visibility at a maximum.

Trick-or-treating

After you arrive home safely, it’s time to either take the little ones out for trick-or-treating or hang out at home and pass out goodies.

Dr. Alison Steier with the Phoenix-based organization Southwest Human Development said parents should help get their kids ready to hit the streets.

“The first thing would be to go over rules before your children go out,” rules like staying close to the parents and not going into someone’s house, she said.

Parents should also ensure a child who is wearing a mask can see everything around them and allow for plenty of ventilation — or avoid them altogether, she added.

Steier also said it is important to make sure children can be seen by other trick-or-treaters and drivers on the road, especially if they are wearing dark costumes.

“One thing that will help is for children to carry flashlights or to put glow sticks around them,” she said.

Silent Witness Sgt. Jaime Rothschild said children should carry flexible costume props and everyone in the group — parents included — should be paying attention to their surroundings, not their cellphones.

“The biggest safety tip we can offer is awareness,” he said.

And once all the candy is collected and it is time to indulge, Steier said it is important for parents to examine the candy, ensure it is commercially-wrapped and throw out any that was homemade or tampered with.

Eider also offered this small tidbit for parents: “If they (kids) have a good, solid dinner before they go out, it’s a good way to avoid those tummy aches later.”

Staying in

Some people choose to stay in on Halloween and pass out candy, which seems like a safe decision. After all, not much can happen to you inside your own home, right?

Rothschild said that may not be entirely true.

“This is the only time of year where somebody would come up to your home in a mask, ring the doorbell and you’d open the door and give them things,” he said.

Rothschild suggested sitting outside and welcoming trick-or-treaters instead of allowing them — and those with them — to come to your door.

Nightcap

After the kids are back, some adults may choose to go out and have a creepy cocktail or two to mark the holiday. While plenty of bars are sure to have events that night, getting home safely can be a concern.

Drunk driving is a big concern on Halloween, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

“Whatever you do, don’t get behind the wheel after drinking,” Tracie Breeden with Uber said.

Breeden said her company, along with others, will be ready to give rides on Halloween to make sure everyone ends the holiday on a safe note.

She said Uber does its best to put a lot of drivers on the road at popular times — think 2 a.m., or the time the bars close — to get people a ride in short order.

“We expect that. We do all kind of incentives to get our drivers out on Halloween,” she said.

KTAR’s Corbin Carson and Ashley Flood contributed to this report.

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