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It's an early morning again for more than a couple thousand Ketchikan residents.

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Araceli Fernandez Seludo, 87, died Aug. 26, 2014, in Cavite, Philippines.
10/22/2013
Safety first

With Christmas decorations on the city's store shelves already, it seems like it might be too late to discuss Halloween.

But Halloween 2013 is still more than a week away.

Which means there is still time to prepare.

Part of preparations includes being well informed for a safe, albeit scary, day of spooky fun.

Halloween is one of the deadliest days for pedestrians.

An average of about 30 pedestrians are killed on American roads annually on Oct. 31, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That's almost triple the number of any other day in the United States.

Statistics don't show what percentage of those might be children out trick-or-treating, but that is the one day of the year that the number of children and parents accompanying children are on the roads in increased numbers.

The numbers reinforce what most parents are aware of; it's a day to pay particular attention to the safety of kids out on the roads — especially while trick-or-treating. Even before Oct. 31 arrives, that can be kept in mind with the creation or purchase of costumes, choosing ones that don't impair vision, are marked with reflective tape and don't create a tripping danger. Face paint is preferable to masks to address this concern.

Kids up to 12 years of age should be accompanied by adults while trick-or-treating, and they should be in groups, which are easier for motorists to notice. Kids should cross at crosswalks, as they should any time of the year.

Kids also tend to become very excited while out on the roads as they walk (or run) from one house to another to collect treats. Tamping down the excitement is prudent. Any kid whose excitement escalates, regardless of their age, might need a parent or guardian's hand to hold them back if there is danger of not watching where he or she is headed.

Motorists also need to be aware, particularly between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. when kids are out for Halloween. But also keep in mind that some kids wear their costumes to school early in the morning, and an accident could happen as easily then.

Motorists are encouraged to avoid driving through residential areas where kids are trick-or-treating as much as possible, to be extra vigilant in looking for kids along roads, and, when driving kids around for Halloween — and probably anytime — make sure they exit a motor vehicle on the right side away from traffic.

Halloween is the third deadliest day of the year for pedestrians, according to the NHTSA. The most deadly is Jan. 1, followed by Dec. 23.

Halloween shouldn't be deadly; it should be fun. By taking time to think about how to make it so, it will be.

Safety first; fun second.