Students at Irving School in Derby got a hands-on lesson on staying safe this Halloween.
School leaders set up three activities.
“One is called foggy conditions where the children hold a piece of wax paper in front of them, and then they have to run through cones. The second station is 'put on the brakes,' where we tell them to run as fast as they can and then we say stop,” said Candace Lebel, a second-grade teacher at Irving School and the committee head of the Safety and Health and Wellness Committee.
And for the third station, students wore dark glasses similar to the ones people wear when they have their eyes dilated.
“We're putting up a reflective crosswalk and we're going to show the children how dark it is for a driver to see them when they're out trick or treating,” Lebel said.
Lebel organized this safety event for the last 12-13 years. She said, in the past, they had two close calls with children almost getting hit by a car near the school and many of their students walk to school every day.
So their goal is to make sure children stay safe, especially ahead of Halloween.
“Our kids need to get here safely. Our kids here in this neighborhood don't really have playgrounds to play on and most of them play on the sidewalk or street so we need to make sure that they are valued and kept safe,” said Lebel.
“Whether it's walking to school, walking to the park, going to play basketball, Halloween, more than anything, we want our kids to be safe,” said Aimee Misset, the principal at Irving School.
The parents we spoke with loved this safety activity.
“I think it's good. You know, because it's nighttime and could be scary. And especially what Halloween masks and probably other masks. It's kind of hard to identify. And you know what I mean? So he has glow sticks and a flashlight,” said Jamie Vargas, who has a son in fifth grade.
“I actually really, really love that. It's, I think it helps kids learn, you know how to be safe. And you know, it's scary around Halloween because some people don't pay attention to what's going on when kids are around. So it's good for them to know what to watch out for,” said Amra Pelalovic, who has a daughter in second grade.
But this Halloween, parents aren’t only concerned about keeping kids safe while walking around. COVID-19 is still a concern.
Dr. Melissa Held is a pediatric infectious disease physician at Connecticut Children’s and her advice is to be outside, enjoy Halloween, and do it safely.
“We're encouraging mask use even outside, especially if they're going to be in groups of other children. And not just the costume kind, but an actual two-ply mask. And you know, limiting the numbers of other children that you're going trick or treating with,” said Dr. Held.
Dr. Held also encouraged kids to limit the number of houses they trick-or-treat at to limit exposure to COVID, and make sure you have hand sanitizer ready to constantly apply it.