CHICAGO – While Halloween may be a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to take safety precautions no matter how you are celebrating this year. The risk of pedestrian fatalities, particularly from drunk or distracted drivers, increases significantly, as does the potential for candles and decorations to cause home fires. The American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) has tips to help ensure the entire family has a “spooktacular” and claim-free Halloween.
Follow Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
According to the CDC, many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading the virus. The CDC offers guidance on how to celebrate Halloween safely here.
Do Not Drive Distracted
If you are driving around on Halloween, be extra cautious and watch for pedestrians, especially children. On average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit and killed by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.
“Even if you expect fewer trick or treaters to be out and about this year, do not let your guard down while driving,” said Robert Passmore, vice president of auto and claims policy for APCIA. “Stay alert, avoid distractions on the road, and watch for children, especially as it gets darker outside.”
Designate a Driver
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, during Halloween night from 2014 to 2018, there were 145 people killed in drunk driving crashes.
“Drunk driving fatalities increase on Halloween, so if you plan to have a drink then plan for a sober ride home,” said Passmore.
Protect Your Vehicle
Data from the National Crime Insurance Bureau shows that Halloween was the third biggest holiday for stolen cars in 2018 with 2,275 car thefts.
“Don’t let your vehicle ghost you on Halloween. Park your car in a safe, well-lit location or keep it inside a garage, and make sure your car is locked and the alarm is on,” said Passmore.
Protect Your Home
Halloween decorations are fun and festive, but they can also be a fire hazard. According to the National Fire Protection Association, from 2014 to 2018 an average of 770 home fires began with decorations per year. More than 44 percent of these fires occurred because decorations were too close to a heat source, like a candle or hot equipment.
“Use battery operated candles when lighting pumpkins or other decorations this year to reduce the risk of fire to your home,” said Passmore.
If you use candles, do not put them where kids or pets can knock them over and never leave candles unattended.
More Tips for a Safe & Claims-Free Halloween:
- Dress kids in flame-retardant costumes and comfortable shoes
- Make sure kids can see clearly out of their costume
- Keep walkways and paths well-lit and clear of debris
- Keep dogs on a leash. Do not let aggressive dogs rush trick-or-treaters at the door