As we prepare to welcome little bands of marauding pirates, mermaids, firefighters, witches, and superheroes, we encourage you to use a bit of caution and common sense to ensure everyone has a safe and happy Halloween.
Over the past three years, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that an annual average of 3,200 Halloween-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments:
- 55% were related to pumpkin carving
- 25% were due to falls while putting up or taking down decorations, tripping on costumes or walking while trick-or-treating
- 20% of the injuries included cuts, ingestions and other injuries associated with costumes, pumpkins or decorations, and allergic reactions or rashes
Here are our top tips to keep you and the little ones safe.
Clear the Cobwebs
- Remove all obstacles around your yard and walkways, including garden hoses, toys, bikes, clotheslines, etc. to avoid tripping.
- Be sure your outdoor lights are in working order, so that trick or treaters have enough visibility.
- Remove wet leaves and clear other debris to avoid slips.
- Make sure jack-o-lanterns don’t block doorways and landings.
- Restrain your pets or consider leaving them in another room during trick-or-treating hours (read more about dog bite injury laws here.)
Safe Decorating Tips
- Did you know more than half of Halloween-related injuries happen during pumpkin carving? Please take extra caution when carving your pumpkin. Avoid using sharp kitchen knives and opt for the specially-designed pumpkin carving tools offered at most stores instead.
- If you use candles in your jack-o-lanterns, place them at a safe distance from where costumed kids may be walking.
- Consider using battery-powered lights inside your pumpkins instead of candles.
- Practice proper ladder safety to put up your Halloween decorations.
Costumes That Won’t Trip You Up
- Buy costumes that are flame-resistant or flame-retardant; if making your own, be sure to avoid flammable fabric and materials.
- Make sure props are flexible and don’t have sharp edges. Because falls are a common injury, especially among children, it is best to avoid pointy objects.
- Ensure costumes fit properly, including shoes; ill-fitting or billowing costumes are more likely to catch fire or cause trips and falls.
- Avoid wearing masks that restrict breathing, peripheral vision and hearing; enlarge eye, nose, and mouth holes if necessary.
- Consider using face paint instead of a mask and be sure it is safe; check the FDA’s Summary of Color Additives and if the color isn’t on their list, don’t use it.
- Do not ride a bike or a skateboard while in costume to avoid the risk of entanglement.
- Never use decorative contact lenses sold online or in-store; they can cause serious injuries to your eye, and in the worst case, even vision loss.
Trick or Treat Safety
- See and be seen: kids are more than twice as likely to be fatally injured by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year.
- Use reflective tape on costumes and shoes and/or use a flashlight (with working batteries!) or glow sticks.
- Understand that kids are excited and will often run to the next house using the shortest – not the safest – route. Remind them to look both ways before crossing the street, use a crosswalk when possible, and not to run out between parked cars.
- Stay on well-lit streets, ideally with a sidewalk. If that’s not possible, walk at the edge of the road, facing traffic.
- Consider mapping out a route ahead of time, establishing a buddy system, and setting a curfew for older children who might be out on their own.
- Talk to them ahead of time about common-sense safety protocols such as traveling in groups, avoiding homes with the lights off or dim porch lights, and never entering a house.
Beware of Tricky Treats
- Caution your kids to wait to eat their candy until they get home and you’ve had a chance to check it.
- Make sure all treats are commercially wrapped and that the wrappers are intact.
- Consider participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project®, which suggests having non-food items available for children with allergies.
- Be careful with sticky and hard candies as they are more likely to pull out fillings and damage orthodontics.
Keep An Eye On Your Pets
- Watch your pets carefully to ensure they don’t get into the treats: chocolate, raisins, and sugar-free treats can all be poisonous to pets.
- Beware that lollipop sticks, glow sticks, loose costume bits and foil or cellophane wrappers can create digestive blockages for pets.
- Ensure your pets feel safe during trick-or-treating hours to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Avoid dog bite injuries by keeping dogs away from the door when trick-or-treaters approach.
Also, if you’re planning to throw a Halloween party this year, check out our blog on Social Host Laws in Massachusetts.
By following a few commonsense guidelines everyone can enjoy a safe and fun Halloween.
If you or a loved one has been injured while out at Halloween or anytime please reach out to the personal injury team at Parker Scheer. We’re here to help.