The streets of Scott County will be teeming this evening (Thursday) with ghosts, goblins and an assortment of the undead, as thousands of local children don costumes and take part in the age-old tradition of trick-or-treating.

It is important on this evening for motorists to exercise a little extra caution, especially in congested residential areas where children may dart unaware into the street at any moment. Some areas of Scott County — such as the Mountain View neighborhood in Robbins, along Old Highway 27 — are especially noted for featuring residences with porch lights on and bowls of candy waiting, making them particularly enticing for trick-or-treaters and creating an even bigger urgency for motorists to drive slowly and carefully.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a project of the National Children’s Hospital, surveys find that 12 percent of parents allow children under the age of five to trick-or-treat without adult supervision, and 40 percent allow their child to wear costume items that could be unsafe — such as long, baggy or loose clothing.

Studies have shown that Halloween is the deadliest night of the year for pedestrians. By observing a few simple safety rules, it doesn’t have to be that way. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the following can serve as a good rule of thumb:

• Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

• Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

• Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and help others see you. Always walk and do not run from house to house.

• Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks whenever possible.

• Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic.

• Wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.

• Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Don’t stop at dark houses. Never accept rides from strangers.

As Halloween becomes more popular among adults who enjoy attending costume parties and other adult events, it is important to remember that if you drink, you should have a sober ghoul to drive you home. It isn’t just our children’s safety but your very freedom that depends on it.

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