EDITORIAL: Don’t let boo! become boo-hoo

While we’re all busy watching out for terrifying confrontations with Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees or Donald Trump this Halloween season, at least we don’t have to worry about setting a place at the table for departed souls.

A lot has changed since the Christian holiday of All Souls Day and the celebration of All Hallows’ Eve adopted many of the customs of the Celtic festival of Samhain. But while we no longer try to snatch a quick bite from an apple as it spins on a stick with a lighted candle at the other end, safety remains an important consideration as we send forth our children into the dark, late-autumn evening.

If it seems we get warnings every year about safe driving and awareness at Halloween, it’s because we do. And it’s not just a generic warning. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) confirmed this week that there are 25 per cent more traffic crashes on Oct. 31 compared to other days of the year.

That’s every year, based on data from a five-year period from 2011-15.

That is a statistically significant number, when differences of more than three per cent are considered actionable.

The warning to motorists contains the usual specifics: do not speed; look each direction at intersections; do not roll through stop signs or lights; and do not pass a slowed or stopped vehicle.

And partying isn’t limited to the younger crowd on Halloween night. Keep an eye peeled for potential drunk drivers.

Parents of children have their share of the responsibility, too. Hundreds of youngsters roaming the streets in packs doesn’t translate to a suspension of everyday rules, such as sticking to sidewalks and roadsides, looking all directions before crossing a street and making yourself visible to motorists and other pedestrians.

B.C. Children’s Hospital this week shared a list of tips to keep trick-or-treaters safe: the brighter the better for costumes; keeping the eyes unobstructed and sizing the costumes to prevent tripping; sticking together in groups — with one or more parents or guardians; checking the treats and tossing out anything doubtful; and keeping in contact.

Trick or treat is enough for Halloween night. Let’s not add tragedy to the equation.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News

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