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The Risks of Halloween – and How to Avoid Them

Written by Berkowitz

little boy trick or treating

Halloween is a time of year that both adults and children look forward to. It is a time to let go, become something or someone else, and just have fun. While the day is designed for fun, there are some risks for injury that seem to coincide with the festivities. From crimes that happen on Halloween to hazards that can lead to catastrophic injuries, being prepared lessens the chances of becoming a victim.

While this list covers the most common injuries of the season, do not let it deter you from soaking up everything there is to love about Halloween. Instead, use it as a guide to help you be cautious while enjoying the fun of Halloween with the entire family.

The Most Common Injuries of Halloween

From pumpkin carving injuries to a pedestrian versus automobile accidents, some injuries are more common in the month of October.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Car accidents are the most common in October, with a marked increase happening on Halloween night. Sadly, children are more likely to be struck by a vehicle while trick-or-treating. Most of these accidents occur between 4:00 pm and 10:00 pm.

While drivers are often at-fault for these accidents, a child could be at-fault too if they enter the road without looking or trip on a Halloween costume in the middle of the road.

The average age for kids who seem to be at the highest risk for an injury from a pedestrian versus motor vehicle accident is 12 to 18 years old. Typically, these are children who are out roaming the streets without parental supervision and may be distracted by friends, fun, and trick-or-treating.

Some things you can do to help prevent your child from being injured by a motor vehicle include:

  • Reflective Tape – Put reflective tape on your child’s costume and collection bags so that vehicles see them.
  • Monitor – Take your child out trick-or-treating and make sure they stay on the sidewalk while going from house to house.
  • Costume Safety – Make sure your child’s costume is not a tripping hazard. If the costume is too long, cut or hem the bottom so that it sits above your child’s shoes.
  • Glow Sticks and Flashlights – To keep your child visible, have them wear glow sticks and use flashlights while going around darker neighborhoods.
  • Walk, Not Run – Lastly, make sure your child walks from house to house and never runs. When it comes time to cross the street, your child should walk through the crosswalk and always make eye contact with a motorist before crossing in front of a vehicle.

Drunken Driving Accidents Increase Too

Sadly, when Halloween falls on a weekend, the chances of a child or adult being injured in a drunken driving accident increase substantially. In one report released by the Alcohol Monitoring Systems, drinking violations increase by 4.5 times when Halloween falls on a Saturday.

Furthermore, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), shows that from 2009 to 2013, a full 43 percent of accident-type deaths on Halloween were caused by drunken drivers. Worse yet, 26 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred because of a drunken driver on Halloween.

Choking Hazards

Some candies can serve as choking hazards, especially for younger children. Hard and sticky candies should not be given to small children, and children should not eat their candy while walking and running about from house-to-house.

When your children get home with their candy collections, examine the candy and pick out which candies are appropriate for their age.

Excess Candy Consumption

You might think that eating too much candy on Halloween night is just part of the festivities – and could not lead to an injury. While an upset stomach is likely, some pediatricians warn that too much candy can lead to bad habits, allergic reactions, and extreme vomiting – all which may require a hospital stay.

Therefore, pick out candies and limit your child on how much he or she can eat Halloween night to avoid a trip to the ER.


Sadly, the risk of poisoning increases on Halloween. Beware of the following:

  • Tainted Candy – Before your children eat their candy, make sure the wrappers are sealed and that there is no evidence of tampering. Also, certain states report that marijuana candy has been found in children’s bags. Young children may wind up with these candies, especially if they live in states where marijuana is legal. These candies don’t necessarily look or taste unusual, so be sure to throw out any candy that is not clearly labeled or readily identifiable.
  • Glow Stick Safety – Glow sticks may contain poisonous materials. Therefore, do not allow small children to chew on their glow sticks. If a glow stick breaks in your child’s mouth, follow the protocol given by the Poison Control Center.

Face Paint Reactions

Cheaper face paints may contain toxic chemicals or cause a severe allergic reaction. While manufacturers are required to label their paints properly with warnings and ensure that there are no hazardous chemicals, not all manufacturers follow such protocols. Compare the ingredients of your face paint with known makeup brands. Also, make sure the face paint only uses the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) list of approved color additives to lessen the risk of a toxic reaction.

Decorative Contact Injuries

Teens and adults want to fine-tune the look of their costume by using decorative contacts. Unfortunately, these contacts are not manufactured like traditional contact lenses; therefore, they run a higher risk for tears and infections. Furthermore, these lenses are not designed to fit your individual eye – and you could suffer a permanent eye injury or even blindness.

Also, be sure not to share these lenses, because doing so increases the risk of a dangerous eye infection.

Fatal Reactions to Black Licorice

Did you know that consuming too much black licorice could lead to heart failure or an abnormal rhythm? Adults over 40 are at higher risk for this injury, and you would need to eat a lot of the product – but it is wise to be cautious about how much black licorice you allow yourself to consume.

Fires and Burns

Decorations, costumes, and more all pose a risk of fire on Halloween.

According to research conducted by the NFPA Fire Analysis and Research Division from 2006 to 2010 – decorations were the leading cause of home structure fires on Halloween. Half of these decorations ignited because they were too close to a heat source, and 41 percent were started by candles.

Also, the US Fire Administration indicates that there is an average of 10,300 fires on the Halloween weekend stretch, and these fires result in an average of 25 deaths, 125 injuries, and billions in damages.

Burn injuries are extremely devastating and could leave a victim permanently disfigured. To avoid these hazards, consider the following:

  • Use LED Candles – While the ambiance of a lit candle makes for a spooky Halloween, it also significantly increases the risk that you will have a fire. Put LED candles in your home and use them to light up your carved pumpkins. Doing so also reduces the risk that a child’s costume will catch fire while trick-or-treating at your home.
  • Avoid Heat Sources – When putting up your Halloween décor over the mantle, make sure that nothing hangs too low to where it could catch fire if you have the fireplace going. Furthermore, do not place decorations near any heat sources.
  • Battery Caution – Batteries can ignite and without warning. Therefore, keep all battery products away from heat sources, and make sure any batteries in Halloween decorations have been changed out for the season.

Slip, Trip and Fall Accidents

Slip, trip and fall hazards are everywhere, every day. However, on Halloween the risk of a slip, trip, or fall incident increases due to the environment.

Whether you are a homeowner with trick-or-treaters entering your property, or you have small children going out to collect candy, you need to be aware of these hazards and do what you can to avoid them.

For the Homeowner

  • Keep Pathways Well-Lit: The entire point of Halloween is to have an extra-spooky environment. However, you have small children and adults coming up to your door to get candy. Therefore, you need all driveways and paths up to your door as well-lit as possible so that no one trips in the dark.
  • Remove Tripping Hazards: Any decoration that can cause a small child to trip – such as a cord running across your sidewalk or a fog machine masking stairs and dips in your sidewalk – should be removed or altered.
  • Remove Ice: October can bring ice. So if there is ice you must be sure to properly salt your stairs, sidewalks, and driveway so that no one slips coming onto your porch.

For the Trick-or-Treater

  • Wear Fitting Costumes: Wear well-fitted masks, capes, and other costume items so that they do not pose a tripping hazard.
  • Use a Flashlight: Have children go trick-or-treating with a flashlight so that they can illuminate sidewalks and areas as they trick-or-treat.
  • Only Go Places You Know – While trick-or-treating parents often take children out of their neighborhood. But it is wise to only go into neighborhoods you are familiar with so that you are more aware of any known potential hazards.

Seeking Compensation for Halloween Injuries

Whether you or a loved one was injured on Halloween due to someone’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation. Regardless of the holiday, people are required to keep their homes safe, manufacturers are required to sell safe products, and motorists must drive with caution. Therefore, when someone ignores their duty of care and causes an injury, that person is financially responsible.

To hold them accountable, you need an injury advocate by your side. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna, LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call or contact us online to get started.