Pedestrian Safety on Halloween
Halloween is one of the best days of the year for many kids, but it is also unfortunately the most dangerous day of the year for children walking and rolling. Pedestrians are already at higher risk of being injured or killed during evening hours in autumn, as the skies get dark but plenty of people are still out walking and driving. Halloween introduces even more pedestrian traffic (especially excited kids), as well as many people who are distracted or intoxicated while driving.
There are many things you can do as a caregiver, a motorist, or as a community. One of the most important things you can do is commit to not drinking and driving at all, especially on Halloween and the days surrounding it. If you see someone trying to drink and drive, please intervene.
Ways neighborhoods can help
We are so lucky: many neighborhoods in Milwaukee County put on great Halloween events. Some of them do some of the below ideas, like closing off several blocks to traffic during trick-or-treating. This is a great way to have a fun, traditional, and safe neighborhood experience, allowing children to experience a spooky Halloween with great decorations, but with no fear when crossing the street.
Consider notifying nearby residents of the statistics and asking them to drive very carefully during this time.
Host a crosswalk action! Reach out to email@example.com to see how we can support you in helping pedestrians cross the street.
Ways motorists can help
Ditch the car! Try biking, walking, or taking the bus to your trick-or-treat or party destination. Fewer cars on the road helps to reduce risk (plus, you won't have to park!). Never used the bus before? You can pay your fare with cash, a WisGO card, or the UMO app ($2 per person, free for those under 5). Use apps like Google Maps, UMO, or Transit to plan your trip. New to biking? Make sure to have a front light and rear reflector (on all bikes, including kids'), and try to take less-busy streets like residential roads. Follow all traffic laws.
If you do drive on Halloween or the surrounding days, make sure you turn your headlights on early, drive the speed limit (or slower for conditions), and actively look out for pedestrians and people biking. If you are out driving, there's a very good chance someone else is also on the road with you!
Please park more than 15 feet away from a crosswalk. This helps to "daylight" the intersection to drivers can see pedestrians -- and vice-versa. If you drive a larger vehicle, please park even further back.
Ways parents & caregivers can help
As you're walking, have kids stick with a buddy system for crossing the street.
Consider giving kids and teenagers flashlights, glow sticks, and other components to help improve their visibility. They will be distracted having fun, so additional visibility is key.
Bothered by how unsafe it feels for your kids to cross the street? This is a great time of year to talk to other parents and neighbors about how you might change your neighborhood for the better, such as through Milwaukee's Neighborhood Traffic Management Program, or by requesting improvements like curb extensions, leading pedestrian intervals, chicanes, and diverters.
Remember -- once you and your little witches and werewolves are heading home, there are still other families who are out and about. If you drove, please treat pedestrians as you would want your family to be treated.
Have a wonderful and safe spooky season!