With Halloween night almost upon us, Vancouver first responders and ICBC are urging everyone to keep safety top of mind while still having a spooktacular good time.
Vancouver police media relations officer Sgt. Aaron Roed said the department will deploy extra officers on Halloween night to respond to calls and will have more patrols near schools and parks, as well as in the Granville Entertainment District.
Costume weaponry — plastic handguns, hatchets, pretend swords — has been an issue for police in the past, Roed said. The department is urging Halloween revellers to either leave fake weapons at home or make sure it is easily identifiable as imitation.
As well, residents are reminded that fireworks are only permitted on Halloween night. They can only be set off on private property and users much have a permit to possess and light any fireworks. Roman candles, bottle rockets and firecrackers are illegal at all times.
ICBC released some sobering Halloween statistics Tuesday, along with some safety tips. Last year in B.C. 307 people were hurt in 1,000 crashes on Halloween in the province, a substantial increase over 2017 when 290 people were injured.
Halloween safety tips:
- 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 kilometre per 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.
- 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.
- 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.