The cold chill now in the air is a good indicator that Halloween weekend is upon us. This is the time of year where children and adults alike get to dress up as anything their minds can dream up and celebrate. There is something for everyone to enjoy about the holiday: costumes, trick-or-treating, parties, candy, pumpkins, haunted attractions, scary movies, and the list could on. However, while there is much excitement and an unlimited number of fun activities to participate in, injuries can still occur. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that Halloween is one of America’s most deadly and dangerous holidays. This is the American holiday that children and adults alike face the risk of death or injury resulting from a fall, slip or trip, car accident, fire hazard or dog bite. However, this does not mean that you cannot go out and celebrate. Instead, you need to be aware of the most common causes of injuries and how to avoid them.
- Make sure all costume pieces are well fitted. Many people each year are seriously injured due to loose or baggy costumes that they trip over. Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween.
- Shoes should be well fitted, as well, and not too high or uncomfortable.
- Make sure all costumes accessories are attached properly or safely carried. These accessories should be soft and flexible. Fake swords and other accesories could cause injuries if fallen on or if accidentally hitting another person.
- Costumes should be flame resistant. Many jack-o-laterns and candles are used for decorations this time of year and increase the opportunity for fires to occur.
- Always test make-up before applying it to a large area to prevent allergic reactions. Make sure all make-up is removed before going to bed.
- Since costumes make trick-or-treaters prone to falls, make sure your yard is well lit and clear from obstacles to help prevent falls on your property.
- If you have pets, keep them inside and away from the trick-or-treaters. Even if the animal is usually “people friendly”, you would not want to be held liable if the pet got frightened and injured a trick-or-treater.
- If decorating your house, keep fire prevention in mind. Do not overload electrical sockets with too many lights and keep jack-o-laterns a safe diststance from trick-or-treaters to avoid contact with costumes.
- Make sure children’s costumes have reflectors or are bright enough in color to be seen by cars. It can also be helpful to carry a flashlight to help increase your visibility to drivers and to help prevent trips when walking through darker areas.
- Travel in groups and do not let kids wonder off on their own.
- Encourage children to walk and not run.
- Use sidewalks and avoid cutting through yards and streets. There is an increased risk of falls when cutting through lawns due to decorations, lawn ornaments, tools, etc.
- Children should only approach homes that are expecting trick-or-treaters. Often these houses will have jack-o-laterns, decorations, or other lights on to encourge visitors.
- Do not allow your children to eat any candy until they return home.
- Examine candy wrappers carefully and discard any that are discolored or faded.
- Discard any treats that are home wrapped and from an unknown source.
- When in doubt, throw it out!
- If consuming alcohol, make sure you have a designated driver. Drunk Driving causes numerous deaths each year and having a DD is the easiest way to prevent these tragic accidents. Starting Friday, October 28 through Monday, October 31, North Carolina will have checkpoints and stepped-up patrols in an effort to remove impaired drivers from the roads. Last year these checkpoints racked up more than 19,000 traffic and criminal violations. This included 774 DWIs, 405 drug violations, and 5547 speeding/reckless driving tickets.
- If serving alcohol at your Halloween party, make sure you monitor guests’ consumption. In some cases, the host can be left responsible for a drunken guest’s behavior even if it’s after the guest has left the party. If you think it will be difficult to monitor all guests, try taking car keys at the door, provide rides home, or have the guests sign a contract that releases you from any alcohol related liability.
- Make sure Halloween decorations are not fire hazards and there are clear exits out of the building in case of a fire.
Halloween is supposed to be a fun and exciting holiday for everyone and some added safety precautions can go a long way. While some accidents are inevitable, these tips can help prevent a majority of the most common Halloween mishaps so you and your family can enjoy a safe holiday.