Perhaps the most frightening presence this Halloween will be the prevalence of drunk drivers.
Impaired drivers proliferate on Halloween and menace both youngsters and adults.
On Halloween 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 58 percent of all roadway fatalities nationwide involved an impaired driver. And in Missouri, two of six fatalities on Halloween 2009 involved an impaired driver.
"There isn't a Halloween costume clever enough to hide an impaired driver who has made the poor decision to get behind the wheel," said Leanna Depue, executive committee chairman of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway.
The coalition reminds motorists:
• Plan a safe way home before attending a party or festivities.
• Before drinking, designate a sober driver and give that person your keys.
• If you're impaired, don't drive. Call a taxi, a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
• Report suspected impaired drivers to law enforcement.
In addition to watching for impaired drivers, adults who accompany trickor-treaters are advised to:
• Walk on sidewalks. If you must walk in the street, walk single file, face traffic and stay as close to the edge as possible.
• Be visible at night; wear reflective strips and carry a flashlight.
• Be certain masks and costumes do not impede sight or mobility.
• Don't assume a driver will stop for you. Motorists may not be paying attention or see you.
Both children and grown-ups will enjoy the festivities if they make safety and responsibility part an integral part of Halloween.