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The annual magic of Halloween conjures up happy phrases: Tricks and treats, kids and candy, ghosts and goblins, frights more fun than fearful.

But to make sure that the scares are only slightly scary and there aren’t any emergency calls to anyone more official than “Ghostbusters,” it pays for all of us adults – be we parents, partiers, or poltergeists – to practice a lot of prudence.

Image / Egerton Law

Keep your wits about you and drive slowly as you undertake your trick-or-treating expediton.

Drivers’ “Defenses Against the Dark Arts.”

  • First, don't use your cell phone while driving. It will be tempting to talk, text, or even tweet a running play-by-play of the evening’s events. Don’t.
  • And on the subject of cell phones: Most of our mobile phones take photos now, and we carry them everywhere, like wizards carry wands. You’ll want to capture those cute images that appear as you’re cruising along. But when you’re shooting pictures, don’t do it while you’re in motion. If you slam on brakes while you’re shooting through the windshield, you could wind up – well, shooting through the windshield.

A few other well-advised ways to ward off accidents:

  • Stay well below the posted speed limit.
  • Pay attention to movement on sidewalks and streets. Watch for children darting about, especially between parked cars.
  • Be especially watchful when pulling or backing in and out of driveways.
  • Remember that younger children are shorter than parked cars – and can materialize from behind one in a moment.
  • Do not assume children can see you; to an excited child, an oncoming car might be invisible. Remind kids to pay attention to their surroundings, but ultimately adults have to own the responsibility of watching out for danger.
  • Do a safety check before you head out – make sure all lights on your car are working.
  • Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the road. They could be dropping off children.
  • If you're driving a group of children, but waiting for them in the running vehicle at the curb while they are off after treats, put on your hazard lights to alert other motorists.
  • If you're driving to a Halloween party, don’t don that mask until after you park the car.

Equip your children with some practical magic

  • Make sure other drivers can see those costumed kids. Flashlights provide visibility and safety. Glow sticks are even better. Both add to the fun of the outing.
  • Dress your trick-or-treaters in bright, reflective clothing or use reflective tape on their costumes.
  • Consider using makeup rather than masks, so children have a clear, unobstructed view of their surroundings.
  • Be sure children know how to cross a street – look left, right and left again before crossing.
  • Remind kids to stay on sidewalks and to cross only at corners or crosswalks.

Beware of potent Potions.

Halloween brings out the pretend-kind of magic for youngsters, but this is an adult holiday too, and alcohol will play a part at many parties.

  • If you are heading out to a party, don’t partake to excess, and be aware of your fellow revelers’ conditions. Take steps if need be to keep friends and others from getting behind the wheel if they seem to be impaired.
  • Remember that as a host you may be liable for the actions of guests.
  • Don’t hesitate to report excessive noise, pumpkin smashing, or other disturbances to police. Rowdy behavior can turn reckless or dangerous.

So, while the games will be afoot tonight, manage all the mischief well, and make sure the make-believe sorcery stays safe.

Happy Halloween!

Image / Egerton Law

Your last best defense is to keep a watchful eye out for trick-or-treaters, other drivers, fellow party-goers – or anything wicked your way coming.

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