Fox Valley towns offer safety tips for trick-or-treating
Staff report October 29, 2013 4:10PM
Halloween Fun--A bounce house, indoor trick or treating and crafting chocolate frosting, pretzel sticks and marshmallows for edible creations highlighted a Halloween family fun night at the Fox Valley Park District's Prisco Center in Aurora on Friday. | Courtesy of Al Benso
Updated: December 1, 2013 6:02AM
Lucky for trick-or-treaters, daylight savings times ends Sunday, so there will be plenty of light left for candy gathering tonight.
Many towns suggest trick-or-treating should start early for younger children and wrap up before dark, which will come about 5:45 p.m. this year.
Other towns, like Aurora, have official hours. The city’s official trick-or-treat hours are 4 to 7:30 p.m. In St. Charles and Geneva hours are from 3 to 7 p.m. Businesses in downtown Geneva also will offer free treats to children from 2 to 5 tonight.
Area towns also are asking parents, children and drivers to be extra safe this year.
According to the National Safety Council, Halloween can be a dangerous time for pedestrian accidents, especially because kids tend to take the shortest route, which might mean darting between parked cars. Children also can be distracted by other children’s costumes, behaviors and home decorations, and be less attentive to potential traffic threats and street surroundings.
A 2012 study by State Farm and Bert Sperling of Sperling’s Best Places found Halloween has been the deadliest day for pedestrian accidents involving children. From 1990 to 2010, the study found an average of 5.5 fatalities each year on Oct. 31, which is more than double the average number of 2.6 fatalities for other days throughout the year.
The study also found the hour between 6 and 7 p.m. was especially dangerous and accounted for almost a quarter of accidents on Halloween.
Youth ages 12 to 15 accounted for 32 percent of all child pedestrian fatalities, followed by children ages 5 to 8 who accounted for 23 percent.
The following tips were provided by Aurora, St. Charles and Geneva police departments to help make Halloween safe for all:
Carry a flashlight.
Wear costumes that are bright or reflective to help see and others see you. Putting reflective tape on costumes is another option.
Wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.
Stay on the sidewalks and look both ways before crossing the street; use established crosswalks wherever possible.
Check to make sure swords, knives or other props are made of soft or flexible material.
Collect candy from homes only with a front porch light on; enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult, otherwise stay outside.
Verify addresses of sex offenders living in your neighborhood by visiting www.isp.state.il.us/sor before trick-or-treating.
Bring a cell phone while trick-or-treating in case of an emergency.
Eat only factory-wrapped treats; avoid homemade treats unless you know the cook well.
Young children should be accompanied by their parent, or another responsible adult.
Examine all candy before being consumed.
Stay within familiar neighborhoods.
Freelance writer Cathy Janek contributed to this report.