Trick or treat safely

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- To many Americans, Oct. 31 is known as a time to break out your best zombie costume or gorilla suit, or ruin your best bed sheet by making a ghost costume.

However, to insurance companies and emergency responders, Halloween is known as the deadliest night of the year for pedestrians.

According to the Center for Disease Control, child pedestrian fatalities are 400 percent higher on Halloween night than any other night of the year.

The 52nd Fighter Wing Safety office has a few reminders for all ghouls, goblins, bearded ladies and party-goers to combat this statistic and provide a safe environment for Sabers.

Home Safety
- If decorating your home, do not block doorways so you can ensure a clear exit.

- If using ladders or working from rooftops while setting up decorations, ensure the ladder's feet are firmly planted on the ground.

- Supervise children when carving pumpkins. Stitches are almost necessary for some costumes, but real stitches don't go well if you're trying to pull off a ballerina.

- Do not leave flames near combustible or flammable materials and have an extinguisher handy if using candles or fire producing items.

- If you plan on scaring trick-or-treaters by jumping out of boxes, corners or other dark places, make sure you can't be trapped or locked in your hiding spot.

- Make sure to turn off power-producing products before going to bed.

Drivers
- Use extreme caution while driving around during trick-or-treat times both on- and off-base.

- Be on the lookout for zombies, Batman and any other people or creatures, and drive slowly when they are around.

- Make eye contact with pedestrians before they cross the street.

Parents of trick-or-treaters
- Supervise your children as they walk around the neighborhood, especially near unfamiliar homes.

- Use flashlights or glow sticks while walking in the dark and stay on well-lit paved areas to avoid uneven terrain and real creatures of the night.

- Attach reflective tape to candy baskets or outfits, so drivers can see the children, especially when lighting is poor.

- Do not walk in the vehicle-only portion of Revere Avenue if trick-or-treating on-base.

- Ensure costumes are the proper size to avoid trips and falls, and adjust material that covers the face so children can see and breathe.

- Test makeup on a small portion of skin prior to applying to the face or other body parts. Also, remember to wash the makeup off. One night of a zombie apocalypse is good enough, so there is no need to extend the 'infection' due to skin irritation.

- Do not use real knives, swords or spears in place of toy accessories.

Party-goers
- Have a plan that includes getting home safe. Do not drink and drive; instead, call a cab, stay the night or make billeting arrangements if partying on-base.

- If walking in a high-traffic environment, look for vehicles and use walkways or sidewalks. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.

- Oh, and don't forget the eye holes in your bed sheet.

For more information, call DSN 452-7233.