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Have fun on Halloween and keep people and pets safe

Watch out for pedestrians

This year’s Booze It & Lose It Halloween campaign includes advice to keep pedestrians safe.

The weather may put a damper on Halloween this year, Steve Monday at Rowan County Weather suggests the best times might be 6-8 p.m. Keep your eyes on the skies.

To have a safe and fun trick-or-treat, check out some of these safety tips for people and pets.

The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Programs’ (NCGHSP) latest Booze It & Lose It initiative,  focuses not just on roadway traffic but on foot traffic as well.

The latest report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that more pedestrians and bicyclists have been killed over the last year than any previous year since 1990.

The Booze It & Lose It Halloween campaign partners with state and local law enforcement to target impaired drivers through enforcement and education.

“In addition to agencies running sobriety checkpoints in all 100 counties from Oct. 28 through Nov. 3, we are asking our partners in law enforcement, education and urban and rural community planners, to help raise awareness this Halloween of how to be a safer driver, bicyclist, and pedestrian,” GHSP Director Mark Ezzell said.

Pedestrians:

  • Look for cars in all directions before crossing the street; never assume a driver will stop.
  • Enhance your visibility at night, walk only in well-lit areas, carry a flashlight or wear something reflective.
  • Avoid distraction when crossing streets, put down the phone.
  • Watch for cars backing up.
  • Cross the street where you have the best view of traffic. At bus stops, cross behind the bus or at the nearest crosswalk.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from the roadway as you can.

Bicyclists:

  • Wear a helmet. It could save your life.
  • Use a light and reflex mirrors or reflective clothing when bicycling at night and be as visible as possible.
  • Ride in the direction of traffic.
  • Avoid distractions such as listening to headphones or answering phones when riding.

AAA Carolinas is offering tips to help everyone have a safe Halloween.

Motorists:

  • If possible, avoid driving during the “haunting hours” between 4 and 9 p.m. – the time when trick-or-treaters will be the most active.
  • Park your mobile phone: Avoid distractions by staying off of your phone; this includes talking, texting or using other apps. Disconnect and Drive. 
  • Yield to pedestrians: Children may not stop for your approaching car because they do not see it or they do not understand how to safely cross the street.
  • No passing: Don’t pass stopped vehicles as the driver may be dropping off children or have stopped for trick-or-treaters you cannot yet see.
  • Drive slowly: Be especially alert in residential neighborhoods; excited trick-or-treaters can move in unpredictable ways.
  • Turn your headlights on: Even if it is still daylight out, it helps to have your lights on so children may better see your approaching car.

Parents and Trick-or-Treaters:

  • Know what you’re eating: Have all candy checked by a trusted adult prior to consumption.
  • Stay with your group: Never accept rides from strangers and hold hands with a friend or family member.
  • Safety in numbers: Travel in groups and plan the route ahead of time.
  • Stop at well-lit homes: Stay clear of dark houses.
  • Avoid trips and falls: Wear well-fitting costumes, masks and shoes.

Keeping pets safe

Dr. Christine Rutter, a clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, speaks to the dangers of pet poisoning on this holiday and how to react if intoxication does occur.

“The clinical signs for intoxication are extremely varied,” Rutter said. “Most intoxications will cause a sudden onset of signs, but these signs can range from subtle to severe. Altered behavior, clumsiness, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and seizure are the most common signs that I see in relation to pet poisonings.”

Halloween celebrations may introduce toxic foods and objects into your home that your pet would not be exposed to normally.

“Most of the things we worry about at Halloween are things like candy (including chocolate), sugar-free gum, glow sticks, and items they get into at Halloween parties, like party foods, recreational drugs, and alcohol,” Rutter said. “Glow sticks aren’t actually toxic, but the fluid within them is irritating and pets (especially cats) will drool and be very upset if they open one.”

Rutter advises that pet owners who suspect their animal has ingested a toxic substance seek medical advice as soon as possible.

“I recommend that owners contact their veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center hotline for advice about how to handle a potentially poisoned pet,” Rutter said.

Even if the potentially poisoned pet is not exhibiting symptoms, Rutter recommends seeking medical help. If you are unsure of whether your pet has ingested enough of a toxic substance for harm to be done, an expert should still be contacted as soon as possible.

“It’s also a good idea to keep pets confined during Halloween parties and trick-or-treating events.  All of the new people, strangers in costume at the door, and access to tempting treats can be a recipe for anxiety, increased scavenging behavior, and exposure to toxins.”

Halloween treats

Krispy Kreme: Stop by on Oct. 31 wearing your Halloween costume for a FREE doughnut of choice. Not valid at all locations. 

IHOP: Kids Eat Free from 4-10 p.m.  Valid for kids 12 and under on kids items. One kids entree with adult entree purchase.

Applebee’s: Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar is offering 25¢ Boneless Wings in participating restaurants nationwide. Dine-in only. For a limited time at participating locations. Celery and dipping sauce available for an additional cost.  While supplies last.

Chipotle: On Thursday, Oct. 31, from 3 p.m. to close, customers who are in costume at all Chipotle locations in the U.S can get a burrito, bowl, salad or tacos for only $4 and can scan for Chipotle Rewards.

Sonic Drive-In: Serving up 50¢ corn dogs all day Thursday, Oct. 31.

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