Trick-or-treat but, before you go, be sure to prepare for some of the most common Halloween injuries so you can have the safest and most fun Halloween night possible. Specifically, Halloween is a time where fun and danger often can overlap by a thin line. And if social distancing is in effect or you’re utilizing masks (not just the ones included with creepy costumes) to keep things safe this year, it’s still important to understand and implement other ways to encourage safety during this time. The goal is to help you avoid some of the most common Halloween injuries listed below:
- Slip, trip, and falls
- Traffic accidents (distracted, drunk driving, and pedestrian)
- Lacerations, burns, and eye injuries
- Food poisoning
- Costume-related injuries
- Inadequate security
Slip, trip, and falls – Slip or trip and fall incidents are one of the top common injuries that happen on Halloween and can cause serious injuries including concussions and broken bones. These types of accidents can increase at night, especially on Halloween when lighting may intentionally be limited. Halloween decorations, sidewalks crowded with partiers and trick-or-treaters, and other factors all can lead to an increased risk of slip, trip, and fall injuries on Halloween as well.
Traffic accidents (distracted, drunk driving, and pedestrian) – From looking at Halloween decorations and costumes to checking GPS directions and communicating on the phone, distracted driving is a major concern and therefore is a common injury on Halloween. There is no excuse for distracted driving, whether it’s on Halloween night or not.
It should also come as no surprise that kids walking through the streets and adults going to Halloween parties can lead to disaster. On this night, there is an increased risk for pedestrian accidents and drunk driving collisions. Although drivers should know to be particularly cautious on Halloween, we still see numerous reports of pedestrian accidents and drunk drivers each year. While pedestrians can help protect themselves by looking both ways for oncoming vehicles — especially around dusk when Halloween festivities typically begin — careless drivers can present extreme risks and put pedestrians in situations where they are unable to avoid serious injuries.
Lacerations, burns, and eye injuries – Carving pumpkins can be a fun activity for the whole family; everyone can get involved, but the reality is also that with knives comes an increased risk of injuries such as lacerations. Since pumpkin carving is so prevalent during the weeks leading up to Halloween, lacerations are one of the most common injuries linked to Halloween.
Picking out a design for your jack-o-lantern and scooping out all the pumpkin seeds can be a great way to get into the Halloween spirit. However, be mindful that carving utensils have sharp edges and can lead to cuts or scrapes. It is best if an adult handles the carving while the kids scoop out the pumpkin seeds.
Then there are the burns. These injuries are common on Halloween and affect all ages. Anyone using live candle flames in their pumpkins or for part of their Halloween decorations runs the risk of causing a fire. In your home, use LED candles that simulate the look and feel of a real candle but without the risks. While your children trick-or-treat, teach them to avoid walking next to a live flame and to be aware of where their costume drapes.
Food poisoning – Once you’ve returned home from trick-or-treating, go through the candy your kids have collected throughout the night and check to make sure there is not anything that could be potentially dangerous. Also, with so many foods recalled due to health concerns, it’s important to check labels and “best by” dates. 1) Throw out anything that looks suspicious and 2) be mindful of allergies in candies such as:
Homemade goods from strangers ● Odd appearance or discoloration ● Unusual objects
Unwrapped items ● Tears in wrappers ● Unusual smells
Costume-related injuries – Costumes often come with sharp accessories like swords and picks. Accessories bring the costume to life. A princess needs a crown as much as a pirate needs a sword. While these accessories are important on Halloween night, so is safety. Whether it be a pirate sword, a tiara, or any other miscellaneous accessory, potential dangers must not be ignored. Accessories can be sharp, and eye injuries happen more often than you think. In fact, according to this article on Fiol Law Group, children who have such props could end up using them like the real thing, which could lead to injury. Keep all sharp props away from children and stick to the foam and soft rubber accessories. If attending a crowded party, consider covering your props with electrical tape to remove sharp edges.
While we talked about burns earlier, a common Halloween injury is a burn that’s a direct result of flowing costumes, long wigs, and capes. When buying your child’s costume, opt for one made from a synthetic material such as nylon or polyester. Anything made from 100 percent cotton is likely to catch fire and burn quickly. Also, masks, wigs, and beards should be flame retardant.
Mask and facial props should not interfere with the child’s vision. Make sure that masks are properly fitted and anything that could block the line of sight is removed. Be sure that if you are using face paint or any makeup/skin transfers, that you test for any skin reactions before applying to the whole face. Make sure that paint or any facial props cant get into the eye during the course of trick-or-treating. Taking the time to opt for safer props can make a huge difference in the safety of your children on Halloween night.
Inadequate Security – What exactly is inadequate security and how could it be specific to Halloween? Well, a haunted house actor who is overzealous in their part could cause someone to hurt themselves while getting away, or a disagreement in a bar that leads to a fight with injuries are both examples of inadequate security. While inadequate security is another issue that exists 365 days a year, it tends to result in a disproportionate number of avoidable injuries on Halloween.
Halloween events are required to have security to protect visitors and must take measures to keep patrons safe. The reality, however, is that while haunted houses, movie theaters, bars, nightclubs, and other businesses that cater to people celebrating Halloween are fun, those managing such places don’t always take appropriate measures to protect their customers from unnecessary injuries.
Have You Experienced One of These Common Injuries During Halloween?
Maybe it’s the increased excitement from all those sugar rushes, maybe it’s the thrill and menace that’s naturally exuded from celebrating the holiday, or maybe it’s the increase in adventure-filled little ones roaming the streets—who knows. The good thing is that if you do experience an accident during Halloween, you have help.
We at Raynes | Erickson are excited to have highlighted some of the most common Halloween injuries and potential ways to prevent such injuries. Nonetheless, we recognize that sometimes, no matter what steps we take, injuries just happen. That’s why our team has the expertise and resources to help you receive the compensation you deserve. If you’ve suffered a common Halloween injury, contact our firm today…our personal injury attorneys are eager to help you.