By: Martianne Stanger
Growing up, I always loved Halloween. How could I not? As I saw more and more decorations go up each year, I knew my birthday was near. And, as soon as my birthday celebration was finished, the Halloween festivities began! My family carved pumpkins, planned our costumes, and, then, on the big night, tramped through the crisp autumn eve – after dark! – to collect treats. It was quite a season of celebration for me. And it still is- but in a much different way.
Sure, I still celebrate my birthday and enjoy making costumes with my kiddo’s. I still relish deep breaths of fresh, fall air as we go door-to-door trick-or-treating. However, these days, the main celebration of the season is that my children are with me – safe, alive, and growing.
It was only a few years ago when my family came so close to losing one of our own on Halloween, an experience that I shared in Impulse and Angels on Halloween – A Mother’s Grateful Memoir. Since then, as Halloween nears, I cannot help but celebrate the simple joy of being able to hold each of my three children’s hands each day. I also feel compelled to spread a call to all parents and caretakers of young children to spend time focusing on road-crossing safety.
I encourage you to take up a challenge this month. Each day, commit to doing something to sharpen your young child’s awareness of how to safely cross a road. Or, spend time with an older child focusing on how to drive with extra care.
Need some ideas to get started on this challenge? Here are 10:
- Sing or chant our road crossing safety song, found here.
- Check out animated safety songs, printable activities, and more at Do2Learn.
- Comb through kindergarten road safety lesson plans here.
- Enjoy online road safety games.
- Turn to your child’s favorite PBS characters to teach them road safety.
- Read road safety books. (Search “traffic safety” in Amazon children’s books for a wide array of titles.)
- Role-play, with one person playing the vehicle and the other playing pedestrian.
- Find a low-traffic street and practice, practice, practice!
- If your children are old enough, check out Tales of the Road. (Young or sensitive children may not like some of the scenes depicted. Also, children need to be old enough to understand that the site is a UK-based one, so the free online videos, games and activities reflect the road traffic differences.)
- Get K-5 lesson plans here.
Whatever you do, please be safe and enjoy this time of year when night falls a little sooner and children are more likely to be out crossing streets after dark.