Halloween is right around the corner. Just about everyone looks forward to this unique celebration as it gives people of all ages an opportunity to dress up, party, eat candy, and enjoy life. However, if you are not careful, you may end up in a dangerous situation and could suffer an injury this Halloween in Chicago. The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Lerner and Rowe offer the following tips to stay safe and get the most out of this idiosyncratic holiday.
Drive Safely This Halloween
With higher-than-normal vehicle and foot traffic, Halloween in Chicago increases your chances of getting into a car accident. To help avoid this from happening to you, reduce your rate of speed and turn on your brights to see in especially dark areas. Try to stay off the roads after you reach your destination. You’ll also want to pay close attention to medians and areas near curbs as trick-or-treating pedestrians may congregate in these spaces.
Reduce your rate of speed even more when driving through residential spaces. Pay close attention to your surroundings including all street signs. Drive 5 mph below the speed limit to reduce the chances of a collision with a wayward youngster. They can be more difficult to spot in the evening hours.
That being said, be on the lookout for kids wearing especially dark costumes. You also need to be aware that some of their costumes may limit their field of vision making it difficult for them to spot and evade vehicles. Just assume that children will run across the street as they gleefully go from one house to the next with bags full of treats firmly in hand. If you have to go down any alleys, driveways, or other narrow spaces, turn on your high-beams, scan the area for children, and proceed carefully.
Halloween Costumes Are a Legitimate Threat
Between trick-or-treating amidst heavy traffic in the early evening hours, sorting through potentially spiked candy, wading through groups of kids out late at night, and beyond, costume safety could likely be the last thing on your mind. As odd as it might sound, costumes really are a threat to the safety of your little ones. In fact, obtrusive costumes can even pose a threat to adult safety.
Both costumes and accessories should be fire-resistant. Do not wear a mask that blocks vision. If your kids will be out trick-or-treating after the sun sets, add some reflective tape to their costumes. Doing so will help drivers see them easier. Lastly, wash off all the makeup before going to bed as it can irritate the eyes and skin.
A group of kids making the rounds for candy should be accompanied by at least one adult. If the kids are in their early teens or old enough go alone, meet with them beforehand to plan out an acceptable route.
Settle on an agreed upon time for the group to return home. Make sure everyone going out for trick-or-treating understands they should never step foot in a stranger’s vehicle or home. Furthermore, the group should understand the importance of putting away the smartphones, looking up and ahead, and sticking to well-lit spaces.
Be Careful When Carving
When it comes to carving, do not simply put out the knives and pumpkins and let everyone have at it. Go over some safety tips with your pre-teens and teens prior to carving to ensure this activity does not render someone bloodied or in the hospital.
Once pumpkins are carved, the youngsters can do their part by decorating the pumpkins with art supplies. Be especially careful with candles placed in pumpkins. Place any candle-lit pumpkins on a stable surface far from curtains and walkways. If possible, opt for LED lights instead of candles in order to eliminate the possibility of a burn injury.
Treats are by far the best part of Halloween. This is one of the few times of the year when we all devour candy without feeling as guilty. Unfortunately, there are some bad apples out there who have the potential to spoil the bunch. So, be sure to inspect your child’s candy haul before they put a single piece in their mouth.
Discourage munching on candy during trick-or-treating. Make sure your kids are full with a healthy dinner prior to trick-or-treating so they are not tempted to eat their candy while outside.
If you find any candy that has torn, unsealed, or otherwise altered packaging, throw it out. Take a close look at all items to ensure they do not have ingredients that will trigger your child’s food allergies.
Finally, do not forget to divvy up the candy between the days of the week so your little one does not go overboard with the sweets.
Prepare for Trick-or-Treaters
If you are like most people, you may pass out some candy yourself this Halloween. It will take a bit of planning to ensure you have prepared yourself and your home for a potential onslaught of trick-or-treaters. Start preparing your home by cleaning up. Take a look at your home from the perspective of a trick-or-treater. Look for anything a little one could potentially trip over and use as legal grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
If there is any stray debris, snow, mud, ice, wet leaves, or other hazards, clean them up right away. Even toys, garden hoses, lawn decorations, and bikes can become hazards. If you have a pet, do not let him or her venture outside during the Halloween trick-or-treating. Keep your pet indoors. This reduces the chance of panic amidst the Halloween hustle and bustle that results in a dog bite, scratch, or other unnecessary injury.
The Safest Way to Celebrate Halloween in Chicago Is an Indoor Party
When in doubt, err on the side of safety by staying inside for a fun Halloween event. You can go to a friend’s party or have a party in your own home. Just about everyone enjoys some extra company on a special night like Halloween. So go ahead and stay inside this Halloween. You will not have to worry about sharing the road with drunk drivers, sleepy drivers, and others who are willing to engage in risky behavior.
How to Make the Trick-or-Treating Experience as Safe as Possible
If you have one or several kids, they are likely inclined to trick-or-treat for at least an hour or two on Halloween. Go ahead and let your kids enjoy the evening. However, you should set some ground rules beforehand.
As mentioned before, discuss where the group will trick-or-treat. Then, determine when the group will meet back at the house. Make sure everyone is aware that there should not be any attempt to trick-or-treat at homes that do not have porch lights illuminated. If anyone offers entry into their home, vehicle, or elsewhere, the kids in the group should know to immediately decline. If everyone stays together and makes an effort to walk on well-lit sidewalks or roadway edges facing traffic, the trick-or-treating experience will likely be safer.
Everyone in the group should wear at least one bright item in their Halloween ensemble. This bright item should be prominently featured on the upper body to enhance nighttime visibility. Combine one or two bright pieces with reflective tape and you will minimize the chance of a driver overlooking the group of trick-or-treaters and hitting someone in the group.
If anyone has an especially long or baggy costume such as a superhero suit with a lengthy cape, it should be adjusted to prevent tripping. At least one group member in addition to the parent who serves as the chaperone should bring a flashlight. Make sure the flashlight is loaded with fresh batteries to illuminate the candy-collecting adventure.
Driving Your Kids During Halloween in Chicago
Some parents go as far as driving their little ones to several nearby streets on the big night. Even if you are simply driving your kids one street over for a party, you should take extra precautions on this busy evening.
Try to head to a portion of the road that is safe, spacious, and clear when dropping off or picking up your children. Turn on your hazard lights so other drivers know you need as much space as possible. If there are only a few houses on the street, consider leaving your hazard lights on as you walk door-to-door with your youngsters collecting Halloween treats.
Injured During Halloween in Chicago?
If you or a loved one suffer an injury during Halloween in Chicago, your first course of action should be to seek immediate medical care and then contact our legal team at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys. You can reach our Chicago personal injury lawyers by dialing 844-977-1900. Our office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, yet we are happy to take your call 24/7. If you prefer to contact us online, click the LiveChat feature on our website. Consultations are completely free and we do not charge any fees unless we win your case.