The Washington Post

Tips for safe travels on Halloween

Halloween masks maximize imagination, but try to pick one that allows maximum vision as well. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Capital Weather Gang’s forecast for the trick-or-treat hours calls for mild temperatures, without rain. Here are some tips from police and travel experts to help everyone keep the children safe, and the adults as well.


  • Stop for pedestrians.
  • Obey the speed limit. Speeding only makes it more difficult to stop unexpectedly.
  • Be especially cautious during peak trick-or-treating hours between 4 and 9 p.m.
  • Enter and exit driveways slowly.
  • Be alert for children darting across the street.
  • Watch for children crossing between parked cars.
  • When driving children to and from different activities, make sure all seat belts are fastened and let children out of the car on the curbside.
  • Never drink and drive. Designate a sober driver. (Or use SoberRide. See below.)



  • Look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.
  • Cross at crosswalks or intersections.
  • Be sure to see and be seen. Avoid dark clothing, wear bright colors and use reflective devices such as vests and blinking lights.
  • Avoid costumes that may impair vision.
  • Make eye contact with drivers when crossing the street.
  • Stay alert and be on the look out for cars traveling above the speed limit.



The SoberRide program, which does such good work in keeping drunk drivers off the roads in the D.C. area, will be active again Thursday night. The program sponsored by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program offers free cab rides up to the equivalent of a $30 fare for adults who otherwise might drive after too much to drink. The hours of operation are 10 p.m. Thursday to 4 a.m. Friday.

To use the service during those six hours, call 800-200-TAXI. The program operates in D.C., Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, and in most of Northern Virginia.

Safety vests

In Maryland, the State Highway Administration offers reflective safety vests for free so parents can place over their children’s costumes. The annual Halloween program is called Vests for Visibility. The vests will be available at most SHA Maintenance shops from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Halloween. It’s first come, first served, and the vests need to be returned by Nov. 8.

These are some of the locations in the D.C. suburbs.

  • Anne Arundel County. Glen Burnie Shop, 910 Stewart Ave., 410-766-3770; Annapolis Shop, 138 Defense Highway, 410-841-1009.
  • Montgomery County. Fairland Shop, 12020 Plumorchard Dr., Silver Spring, 301-572-5166; Gaithersburg Shop, 502 Quince Orchard Rd., 301-948-2477.
  • Prince George’s County. Laurel Shop, Talbot Avenue and Second Avenue, 301-776-7619; Marlboro Shop, 6500 S.E. Crain Highway, Upper Marlboro, 301-952-0555.
  • Frederick County. Frederick Shop, 5111 Buckeystown Pike, 301-624-8251; Thurmont Shop, 67 Moser Rd., 301-271-7787.
  • Howard County. Dayton Shop, 4401 MD 32, 410-531-5533.
  • Charles County. LaPlata Shop, Washington Avenue, 301-934-8031.
Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.



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