Most Iowa communities will hold their annual “begger’s night” this Saturday or Sunday. Brandi Thompson with the Safe Kids Coalition in Des Moines says if young trick-or-treaters aren’t careful, the excitement can quickly turn into a tragedy.

“Kids are actually twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween or begger’s night events,” Thompson said. The Iowa D.O.T. reports nine pedestrians were hit and injured by vehicles over the Halloween period last year. Thompson says parents should make sure their children can see and be seen. She discourages kids from wearing masks because they can block peripheral vision.

Instead, Thompson encourages parents to use face paint or makeup on their kids. Little ghouls and goblins should also avoid wearing oversized shoes or long, baggy costumes that can become a tripping hazard. Thompson says children should carry a flashlight or glow stick to see better in the dark and be seen by motorists.

“Parents can also purchase a roll of retro-reflective tape at most local hardware stores and then cut pieces of the tape and adhere them to the child’s costume,” Thompson said. Motorists are asked to slow down and be extra alert – especially in residential areas and while exiting driveways and alleyways.

“They need to be reducing all distractions possible inside that vehicle,” Thompson said. “So, truly, leaving cell phones at home…turning radios down, so we can hear the kids.” Thompson is also suggesting parents park the car and walk with their children from home to home – rather than driving along side their kids as they trick-or-treat through a neighborhood.