“Skull Creek,” Bloodvein River,” “Coffin Cove,” “Devil’s Kitchen” – Canada has some spine-chilling place names. And while we don’t have a reputation for being scary, Canadians are enthusiastic about Halloween.
Across the country, we expend a lot of effort and money* to make the night monstrous – with creepy costumes, petrifying porch decorations and even spook-tacular exhibits with haunting music and lighting, and scary scenes. Some people go all-out at Halloween...
And who’s it all for? Costumed sugar-craving kids, armed with bags for collecting candy, trick-or-treating through neighbourhoods in disguise.
To help keep the night fun, we’ve put together some safety tips for kids and drivers. And to help you with your Halloween preparations we’ve got some pumpkin carving stencils you can download to add a Chevy-shiver to your night.
TIPS FOR PARENTS AND CHILDREN
Be visibly scary
Put reflective tape on the back of your child’s costume, or clip on a flashing red or white bike light.
Use face paints, rather than masks, for a frightening effect. Masks seriously limit peripheral vision and restrict the ability to look down, causing tripping. You’ll also have more creative options with face paint.
Gather in ghostly groups
There’s safety (and visibility) in numbers, so trick-or-treat with friends and/or family. It’s more fun, and drivers will be more aware of groups than of solitary children.
Look for lights
Go to the houses with lights on or lit pumpkins. A dark house is a sign that the owner is not participating. Save your kids from tripping on dark stairs.
Sort through your children’s candy haul before they eat it. If your child has a food allergy (nuts, dairy, etc.), read the ingredients. No ingredients listed? Put that item in the “parents’ candy” pile.
TIPS FOR DRIVERS
On Halloween night, visibility is key. It’s darker earlier and darting kids may be wearing dark-coloured costumes.
Use your low beams
If it’s foggy, use your low beams and fog lights, if you’ve got them. The light from your high beams will reflect off moisture droplets in fog, making it hard to see.
Clean your windshield
Make sure your windshield is clean, outside and in. Keep your defogger/defroster on.
Fall weather in Canada is unpredictable. Halloween night could be balmy or frosty. Both moist evening air and wet leaves may make the road surface slick. Reduce your speed, and avoid sudden, hard braking. Be prepared for wet and even icy conditions.
Avoid driving during the “witching hour”
Try to stay put for a couple of hours after dusk on Halloween to avoid the trick-or-treating period. The fewer cars on the road, the better.
Expect the unexpected – whether it’s kids appearing out of nowhere, slippery road surfaces, or erratic driving from other drivers.
*In 2007 Canadians spent $1.5 billion on Halloween, according to a Retail Council of Canada report, cited by the CBC. The scary evening’s popularity has continued to grow since then.
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