Halloween has become one of the most popular annual events for the young and old alike. While many of us have heard the scary stories about razor blades in apples, there are more common risks and dangers we’d like you to consider in order for your Halloween celebrations to be fun AND safe.
The most common dangers on Halloween involve vehicles…
In some places “Halloween is reportedly the deadliest day of the entire year in regards to pedestrian accidents involving children.”
According to ICBC, this season of long dark nights is also the most dangerous time of year for pedestrians: “On average, 76 per cent more pedestrians are injured in crashes from November to January every year when conditions are dark and weather is poor compared to June to August in B.C.”
Also from ICBC – “On average, on Halloween night, approximately 10 people are injured in 60 crashes on Vancouver Island.”
Halloween parties for adults are increasingly popular – unfortunately this also means more drunk drivers on the roads. This is a dangerous mix with many happy little trick or treating pedestrians roaming about after dark.
As for those young trick-or-treaters, other potential dangers they face include tripping and falling over unseen objects in people’s yards in the dark, while going up and down residential staircases, or when crossing roads. It’s not uncommon for children to sustain injuries during Halloween because of the ill-fit of their costumes, unsuitable footwear for walking over uneven terrain in the dark, and rarely but horribly, for highly flammable costumes to catch on fire around fires and candles.
Choking is a Halloween hazard, with little ones gleefully running about with candies in their mouths.
Halloween is a popular night for the use of fireworks, a risky form of fun when practiced by youth and amateurs. Did you know that “B.C. has two-thirds of all fireworks injuries in Canada” ? The use of fireworks on Halloween causes a high number of those fires and some pretty terrible injuries.
Other unfortunate risks on Halloween include vandalism and arson by those who prefer the taste of tricks over treats.
How can these risks and dangers best be avoided for a safe and fun Halloween experience?
Halloween Safety – For the Kids:
- Trim costumes with bright, reflective details to maximize visibility to passing vehicles.
- Use trick-or-treating bags made out of bright reflective material. A great safety trick is to put glo-sticks in trick-or treating bags to make them glow.
- Carry flashlights, encourage older children to carry them as well. This helps trick-or-treaters to stay visible around vehicles; it also helps to prevent injuries caused by trips and falls.
- While long trailing ghost costumes with little holes for eyes are adorable on children, they are treacherously dangerous by serving as tripping hazards and by compromising the costume-wearer’s range of vision. Many masks, capes, and other costume components are similarly dangerous. Consider safety when dressing your children for a night of trick-or-treating, be sure their sight isn’t restricted and that their movements and coordination aren’t disabled by their costumes.
- Trick-or-treat in groups to be more visible to drivers on the roads.
- Discourage children from eating hard candies while they are trick-or-treating to prevent choking. Young children are often given large, hard candies that are not age-appropriate, go through their candy and remove obvious choking hazards. Monitor children in the car ride home and once at home to watch for signs of choking.
- Don’t buy fireworks for teenagers. If it’s something you feel strongly compelled to do, participate with your teenagers to ensure the highest standards of safety that you can.
Halloween Safety – For the Adults:
- Don’t drink and drive, and don’t let your friends and family drink and drive. This is standard advice for every night of the year, but it’s an important message to reiterate on statistically dangerous Halloween night when the roads are frequently crawling with excited and distractible children.
- Drive very slowly and cautiously where young people are trick-or-treating, do not assume that the children are paying attention to road safety while they are excited and distractable.
- If you expect trick-or-treaters to visit your house, clear your yard of tripping hazards, patch up holes that feet could slip into, and clear away slipping hazards on stairs and decks such as moist leaves and ice.
- Pumpkins with candles are real fire hazards. Do not place them on walkways, staircases and decks where flammable costumes may brush up against them. Be sure to blow candles out when the jack-o-lanterns are no longer under your watchful eye
- Halloween decorating has become almost as popular as that of Christmas time. Take precautions not to overload outlets with lights and electric decorations.
- Keep an eye open in your neighborhood for suspicious behaviour that may involve vandalism, theft, or arson. If you see something suspicious, call the police.
This is Real Spooky Halloween Stuff!
For all of the dangers and safety tips we’ve shared here, Halloween is a fun annual event; we don’t want to take away from that. In our business we worry about problematic things that could happen. We assess risks and we promote methods of prevention. By considering the dangers and preparing as best we can to avoid them, we are all more likely to have a wonderfully fun time no matter how young or old we are.