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Halloween street smarts for trick-or-treaters and drivers

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SEATTLE — Families want to stick to the fun and avoid the scare of letting their children out onto the streets for trick-or-treating. Seattle Police Department has some simple ways to protect your family this Halloween.

Toddlers and Younger Kids

  • For your littlest trick-or-treaters, SPD recommends hitting the streets as early as possible. Daylight can make a big difference when it comes to keeping track of tiny tots.
  • Even if it is light, they say keeping a flashlight on hand will help alert cars that someone is near. And don’t use your cell phone as a flashlight, as it should be fully charged in case of an emergency.
  • Remind your little ones to stay close to an adult at all times. You can tell them listening and staying safe now means fun and treats later.
  • Keep groups small to avoid losing someone in the candy rush:

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“A one to one ratio between adults and kids is about perfect,” Det. Patrick Michaud said. “If you need to, you can always ask a friend to kind of help you trick or treat. Don’t try to go in too large of a group, because then it’s just like herding cats out there.”

Older Kids and Teens

  • Give your teens a little independence by reminding them about traffic hazards ahead of time.
  • Ask them to use the crosswalk or go the corner when they need to cross the street. On street parking and dark costumes is a bad combination when it comes to moving vehicles. They usually can’t see kids jumping out from between parked cars late at night.
  • Give your older kids their own flashlight or glow sticks. Any light will alert drivers that people are near.
  • You can work with the city to get a permit to block off traffic to your neighborhood.
  • Make sure kids stick to a neighborhood they know:

“So you are familiar with the street layout, you don’t get too lost, you aren’t in a bad area where you don’t want to be necessarily,” Michaud said. “If you do find yourself in an area you aren’t familiar with, you can always find an officer and they’ll help you get out of where you are.”

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Drivers

  • Remember trick-or-treating starts early. Watch for little trick-or-treaters who are out before dark.
  • Drive slowly through neighborhoods with on-street parking. Kids are likely to jump out from behind cars in dark costumes.
  • Police will be out in full force on Halloween night to protect families and watch for distracted drivers.
  • Don’t wear a costume mask while driving on Halloween:

“We would highly recommend adults don’t drive with masks, it does impede your vision,” Michaud said. “It actually is just a distraction and distracted driving is an enforceable infraction with a $124 fine. So if you’re distracted while you’re out there, we will pull you over and you will get cited.”


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Masks vs. Face Paint

Masks can be distracting for drivers and for kids because it limits their peripheral vision when crossing streets and watching out for cars.

“Face paint is a great alternative to a mask,” said Michaud. “Some costumes only work with masks, we understand that, but if you’re going to wear a mask make sure you reinforce the idea that you look both ways if you’re going to cross the street. And you have to turn your head to be able to do that. You can’t just use your peripheral vision.”

If you decide to ditch the mask, face painter and entertainer, Dorothy Pierce, says face paint is a way to make your costume unique and safe.

She says parents should make sure the face paint they use is FDA compliant and encourages using water-activated cosmetic grade face paint, from brands like Snazaroo or Global. They can be purchased from most craft stores, Amazon.com and even Walmart.

Another alternative is to book a professional face painter. Pierce says most professionals take private clients all day long on Halloween.

For other ideas and tutorials on face painting, check out the Q13 Fox Pinterest page.