For many, Halloween is a fun time of year that if filled with people decorating their homes, dressing in costumes, and for children, a magical night of trick or treating. All these, along with the newly crispness of the air have us welcome the fall season. It’s nice to shed the stifling heat of the summer months and enjoy simple things such as a variety of warm pumpkin spiced drinks. As we embrace all of these little enjoyments, it’s crucial to keep in mind that there are plenty of accidents that can occur during this time of year. You can always enjoy all that Halloween has to offer, but you should also be aware of what dangers can lurk and how to address these issues.
Here are two main dangers associated with the Halloween season:
As you’d assume, lit pumpkins do present a fire hazard, since they can be knocked over and catch both decorations and houses on fire. Indoor candles too may be present to create a “spooky” ambience during household parties. Or like how most fires start in the kitchen, monitor what you bake (i.e. Halloween cookies) or other themed treats. Whatever the reason, it’s crucial to be aware of potential fire risks.
To put this into perspective, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) showed various fire statistics from 2011-2013, a three-year average during Halloween (October 30th to November 1st). According to the USFA, there were an estimated 10,300 fires, which resulted in approximately 25 deaths and 125 injuries. These fires caused about $83 million in property damage—a number that is staggering and essential for homeowners to be aware of.
When looking at fires by property type, outside fires accounted for 37.5 percent; residential fires, 33.1 percent; vehicle fires, 14.6 percent; and nonresidential fires, 8.8 percent. All of these numbers in general are higher than normal in non-Halloween timed fires.
Trick or Treating Dangers
On this one night, there are countless children all over the country who are going out, door-to-door, dressed up and seeking candy from their neighbors. This consists of them having cross streets in the dark—sometimes with their costumes even obstructing their vision (wearing masks). Due to this, there are many pedestrian-related injuries. According to one report by the National Safety Council’s (NSC) Injury Facts 2017, in 2015, of pedestrian-related accidents, there were an estimated 6,700 deaths and 160,000 injuries that needed medical attention.
Most of the pedestrian deaths (17 percent) happened when people crossed improperly (such as jaywalking). And lack of visibility (such as difficulty seeing in the dark) accounted to 15 percent of these deaths. As you can see, trick or treating must be done cautiously to avoid these potential risks.
To help ensure the safety of your child while they trick or treat, it’s always a good idea to have them accompanied by an adult—never have them go alone, unless they are at a suitable age that knows the general rules of the road. Another thing you can do is to have older children, such as pre-teens and teens periodically check-in with you and let you know where they are and how they are and where they are going.
Enjoy all that Halloween has to offer while being safe and smart! It’s certainly a fun time of year!