Friday, October 23, 2009

Halloween Hints

Halloween is a bittersweet time for me. My kids are too old to trick-or-treat, and I’m too old to celebrate, but I still have great memories of this hallowed tradition. I can recall my one-year-old daughter in her first costume - a pumpkin outfit - and watching the neighbor kids grow bigger and taller each year they rang our doorbell. I can think of my son announcing he was too big to hold hands and could go to the door by himself to get his treats. Mostly, I remember breathing a sigh of relief when the evening was over and everyone was home safe and sound.

That’s because while Halloween is a fun fall tradition, it’s also one of the deadliest nights of the year – largely due to impaired driving. This year, Halloween falls on a Saturday, making it an even bigger occasion to party. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 58 percent of all highway fatalities last Halloween involved an impaired driver. In Missouri, eight people were killed and 51 seriously injured in traffic crashes during last year’s Halloween weekend. Of the eight people killed, 50 percent involved an impaired driver and 57 percent were unbuckled.

So, while I know I’m going to sound like a preachy old mom, please keep these tips in mind if you’re thinking about celebrating this Halloween:
· Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
· Before drinking, designate a sober driver and give that person your keys.
· If you’re impaired, take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
· If you suspect a drunk driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement.
· Always buckle up. It’s your best defense in a crash.