Safety and Training

Throwback Thursday—How to Stay Safe on Halloween

Picture shows a group of children in costumes, trick or treating on Halloween.

October 31 is one of the most anticipated nights of the year for many kids. Thoughts of candy, getting to stay out late, parties at school, and a chance to be a superhero for a night are all innocent thoughts in a child’s mind. However, for adults, we see the sinister side behind all the sugary treats and silly scares. A night full of masked strangers makes us a little jumpy — and justifiably so. Many states report higher crime rates on Halloween night. Boston officials stated that violent crimes soar 50 percent higher on October 31 than any other night of the year. Most Halloween night crime is petty — destruction of property and vandalism, but more serious crimes such as burglary, assault and theft also spike on All Hallows Eve. Are you planning to let the little ones trick-or-treat this year? If so, consider our safety tips compiled from various law enforcement agencies from around the country for a safe and fun Halloween night.

  • Plan your route in a familiar neighborhood. Take note of any registered sex offenders’ homes and avoid them.
  • Start out early; that way you will not have to be out too long past dark.
  • Go in groups with an adult to supervise.
  • At least one adult should stay home, if possible.
  • Keep your house well lighted inside and out.
  • Secure your pet inside the house.
  • Only approach houses with porch lights on and never go into a stranger’s home.
  • Walk only on the sidewalk and cross at designated cross stops. Children are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other night of the year.
  • Carry flashlights, glow sticks, and wear a blinking light or reflective tape on costumes.
  • Make sure weapons look fake and are flexible. Fake guns should have orange tips. Tell your children not to make any threatening gestures with their fake weapons at strangers. If a law enforcement officer asks them to put down the weapon, tell them they must put the toy down immediately.
  • Be aware of people who jump out and scare you. Know the difference between tricks and the real deal.
  • Beef up your neighborhood watch. Get as many volunteers as possible to patrol your streets.
  • Stay on code yellow, bordering on code orange from Colonel Jeff Cooper’s color codes of situational awareness.

Will you be trick or treating with your children this year? How do you plan to stay safe? Share your tips in the comment section.

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Comments (3)

  1. My wife and I both go with our daughter. I figure when she is old enough that she doesn’t want us to go, she is old enough to stop going.
    Ditto on the stat about vehicular incidents. It blows me away how fast people go on residential streets anyway, but especially on Halloween.

  2. I agree with Bill, life sure is a lot different than when I grew up. One good thing: I’m glad that at least one of the parents go Trick or Treating with their children. Guess you have to do that now-a-days!

  3. “BOO” Suzanne. I plan on being out there, just to patrol my neighborhood on a regular patrol, it just happens to be Halloween also. I went back and read “situational awareness”, and totally agree, as it becomes a heightened state of awareness just by being on patrol does. Eventually, out of habit and conditioning, you find that it becomes second nature, instinctive. I lived in the country for years, now we’re in town, and never moved. I still have trouble locking doors, and in recent years, have even had to take keys out of vehicles at night, but it’s the way we now live, and in other parts of the country, it’s much worse. Thanks for another good piece, and the link to the other one, I somehow missed it the first time.

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