Halloween is supposed to be a fun-filled time for both children and adults, but for too many British Columbians, October 31st winds up being a nightmare.
Last year was particularly scary, with 370 people hurt in 1,000 crashes on Halloween, a substantial increase over 2017 when 290 people were injured. On Vancouver Island alone, an average of 32 people are injured in 140 crashes on Halloween
To stay safe on the roads, ICBC and the Vancouver Police offer the following tips:
- Be bright to be seen. Encourage children to wear lighter-coloured costumes, add reflective tape to their outfit and treat bag, and equip them with a flashlight or headlamp to help them stand out in the dark.
- Follow the rules of the road. When trick-or-treating with your child, always walk on sidewalks and cross only at crosswalks. If there is no sidewalk, walk as far to the edge of the road as possible, facing traffic. For older children that are trick-or-treating with friends, review the rules of the road and remind them to work their way up one side of the street, instead of crossing back and forth.
- Use reflective tape, glow sticks, or flashlights to improve visibility
- Choose face paint or make-up instead of wearing a mask
- Young children should be accompanied by adult when trick-or-treating
- Stay in well-lit areas
- Stay well below the speed limit. This is essential in residential areas between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. when children are trick-or-treating. Driving slowly will give you more time to react. A vehicle travelling 30 km/hr needs about 18 metres – the length of four cars – to stop.
- Expect the unexpected. Children tend to have their minds more on treats than road safety on Halloween. Anticipate seeing children dart across the street or walking in unusual places like driveways, parking lots and alleys.
- Do not pass a slow or stopped vehicle. Patience is key on Halloween night. Many people will be driving slowly as they watch out for trick-or-treaters. If a car is slowing down or stopped in front of you, don’t try to pass. The driver may be stopping to let children cross the road or for something else you can’t see.
- Leave your phone alone. Distracted driving is one of the main factors in crashes involving pedestrians. With so many children out on Halloween night, it’s important to stay focused on the road and be aware of your surroundings.
- Plan a safe ride home. If your Halloween celebrations involve alcohol, plan your way home before you head out for the night. Arrange for a designated driver or use other options like a taxi or transit to get home safely.
- On costume weaponry, use common sense! An additional word of advice from the Vancouver Police: “Costume weaponry has been an issue for police in the past, from plastic handguns to hatchets to pretend swords. VPD encourages people to use common sense, and to either leave fake weapons at home or make sure they are easily identifiable as imitation.”
Lastly, everyone is reminded that fireworks are only permitted on Halloween night. According to Sooke regulations, “No person may discharge consumer fireworks except on October 31st of each year between 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.”
Permits are available at the District of Sooke (2205 Otter Point Road; Phone 250-642-1634), and the cost is $10. Permit applications for consumer fireworks events must be submitted to the municipality by no later than 12:00 p.m. on October 31st. The list of permits is shared with the Sooke RCMP. You must be 18 or older to apply for a permit.
If you are planning fireworks, it’s recommended you read through the regulation document in full. A permit is required.