By Dan Dougherty
Chief Communications Officer
Everyone loves a good scare on All Hallow’s Eve, but not when it comes to child safety. This Halloween, Eagle County Schools hopes you notice blue, blinky lights everywhere you see a trick-or-treater. For the safety of our youngest students, each year, we send out nearly 3,000 safety lights with reflectors that parents can clip to their child’s costumes to increase their visibility. When you see a gaggle of children together with lights flashing blue, then you know, those children are part of our school community.
We encourage all children under the age of 12 to be accompanied by an adult on Halloween. If kids are mature enough to be out without adult supervision, remind them to stick together in groups of two or more and only to visit familiar areas that are well lit. Don’t visit homes without lights on. Even access to front doors can be tricky in the dark. For younger children, start before it gets dark and consider the distances you’re asking them to walk. All ages should finish trick-or-treating before 9:30 p.m.
Drivers should be particularly careful during the peak hours of 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., especially in neighborhoods and towns that have special events, like “Trick-or-Treat Street” in Eagle Ranch. Adults like to have fun on Halloween, too. But, be sure your costume does not interfere with visibility while driving, and please, do not drive while impaired.
Children are excited to be out “scaring” their neighbors and can move in unpredictable and sudden ways, including darting across streets. Take extra time entering and exiting driveways, at intersections, and in roundabouts tonight. Anticipate slower speeds and heavy pedestrian traffic and give yourself more time, so you’re not in a hurry.
Parents can help drivers by decorating costumes and bags with reflective tape and stickers. If possible, choose lighter, easier-to-see colors. Face paint and makeup usually allow children more visibility compared to masks. If you don’t want to use the blue, blinky lights Eagle County Schools provides, consider flashlights or glow sticks — anything to help them be seen. Good-fitting costumes are also vital — one that is too loose or bulky can be a trip hazard, which can be dangerous in the dark.
This year, consider the weather. While this is not new to us, it may be to someone new to the community. Unusually cold or snowy weather can be a real hazard for young children. Be sure your children dress in layers, wear hats, and gloves — even if it means a costume change. Keep a close eye on your kids — chattering teeth, shivering, and crying means it is time to go home, switch into warm clothes, and maybe have a cup of hot chocolate.
We are very fortunate to live in a wonderful community, so relax and enjoy this time with your kids. And, if you don’t have children of your own, celebrate and play it up with the ones that visit your door. Try to guess their costumes and watch out for their tricks!
At the end of the night, take the time to sort through treats and dispose of any whose packaging has become open. Toss homemade treats unless you know who made the gift. If your child suffers from food allergies, have alternatives at home and make a trade. Talk to your children about their “plan” to make the candy last over time, so they are the ones who decide not to eat it all at once and get a bellyache.
Take lots of pictures — use the hashtag, #ECSRocks, or our usernames to tag us on social media! Facebook is @eagle.schools, Twitter and Instagram are @eagleCOschools. Have a frightfully, delightful night!
Dan Dougherty is the Chief Communications Officer for Eagle County Schools. He can be reached at email@example.com