Stayin' Alive: The Zombie Apocalypse

In a stark contrast to our last installment of safety news, this month we are urging local residents to prepare for the zombie apocalypse. This month will also bring princesses, witches, ghosts, and more than likely a few werewolves to the region.

No doubt, the vast majority of the Catskills’ population wouldn’t be surprised if this was a literal warning, considering our recent chain of unfortunate events. Rest assured that local emergency first responders are not expecting an onslaught of actual zombies; however, this season has its own hazards, and there are many things that you can do to safeguard your little (or big) monsters during the upcoming Halloween season.

This year the Center for Disease Control came up with the great little mnemonic of “SAFE HALLOWEEN” to aid in remembering some important safety pointers to ensure the most enjoyable time for everybody out there trick-or-treating;


Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible. 


Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.


Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.


Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.


Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you.


Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent skin and eye irritation.


Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.


Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.


Only walk on sidewalks or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.


Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.


Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats unless you know the cook well.


Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult. Otherwise, stay outside.


Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes. 


Another recommendation, for those who may expect trick-or-treaters, is to provide healthier treats such as trail mix or raisins. Make sure that anything involving fire for decoration (i.e. jack o’ lanterns) are away from paths of travel and secure, and that entryways and stairs are well-lit and free of hanging objects. Remind drivers to drive safely, and be particularly cognizant of pedestrian travel and leaf piles that children routinely hide and play in. Use children’s time out as an opportunity to gain their daily 60 minutes of physical activity,

Taking these few safeguards throughout this and future Halloween celebrations will protect the well-being of your loved ones, and ensure that Halloween stays a safe and enjoyable memory for years to come.

Rich Muellerleile is the captain of the Shandaken Ambulance Service. He posts regular safety tips in his column, Stayin' Alive, on our Shandaken town page.