There’s nothing that’ll turn a Haunt Jaunt sour faster than an avoidable mishap. Here’s seven tips I thought it wouldn’t hurt to reiterate to keep you safe on your jaunts this fall. (They’re not in any particular order.)
- Avoid bringing home unwanted guests. I’m not convinced ghosts can follow you home, but some, like Craig McManus who recently wrote about his jaunt to Historic Cold Spring Village, feel ghosts can relocate. Since my philosophy is it’s better to be safe than sorry, I’d advise saying a prayer, offering a blessing, or simply asking politely that you’d prefer any ghosts you meet stay where they are.
- Watch for deer! Especially when you’re driving. This is deer mating season so they’re out and about more than usual right now. Dusk (or around 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.) is when they’re most active. Also, they travel in groups so if you see one, there’s likely more nearby. Hitting one can cause a lot of damage to your car. If you do hit one, pull over on the shoulder or get off on the next exit to check damage. DON’T check on an injured deer. If it’s still alive and able to get up, they may pose a threat to you. Or you may put yourself in harm’s way in front of another passing motorist. If you’re pretty sure the deer’s dead and it’s in the middle of the road, DO call 911 or highway patrol and report the deer may pose a traffic hazard.
- Designate a driver. DUIs are a drag. Accidents are even worse. Whether you’re enjoying free tastings at haunted wineries or imbibing some Monster Mash at a Halloween Party, make sure you’ve got a driver set up to get you to and from the fun safely.
- Obey no trespass signs. I covered the reasons for this in Proper Haunt Jaunting Etiquette: Lesson 1. But it’s one of those you can never emphasize enough! DO NOT TRESPASS!!!
- Wash, swipe, and don’t bob to keep the flu and colds at bay. If you’ve watched the news lately or visited your doctor recently, it’s likely you’ve heard the advice to wash your hands as frequently as possible. It’s great advice and your number one weapon for protecting yourself against germs! But also carry disinfectant wipes for the times a sink and soap isn’t near. Be sure to swipe surfaces like remotes and phones when staying in hotels. (I also do handles, switches, and knobs because I’m paranoid.) And while it’s a great fall activity, I’d recommend not bobbing for apples. Especially this year since flu season is already in full swing. (A bucket full of apples floating in water with other people’s spit? Um, yeah, I’d say that’s a germ breeding ground if I ever heard of one!)
- Know before you go. Avoid the frustration of sitting in traffic (or at least prepare yourself to expect it) by checking the Federal Highway Administration’s National Traffic and Road Closure Information site. You can click on any state to see which roads are being worked on.
- Beware of U-Turn Men and other local nut jobs. Most are harmless but it’s like snakes: even the non-venomous ones can bite. Why antagonize them and risk being punctured if you don’t have to?