Each year around Halloween news teams and magazines bombard already anxious parents with notions of possible calamity on Halloween night. Poisoned candy, car wrecks, allergic reactions to face paint, or ill-fitting costumes that lead to someone tripping and falling are all examples of this amplification of possible injury. Tripping and falling overshadows tricking and treating. While possible injuries are possible on a night when 40 million children dress up and hit the streets, it’s important to look at the facts. Don’t let Halloween myths keep you from enjoying the fun of being afraid.
So what do you need to know to have a safe and exciting Halloween? First, ignore the excess of negative events mainstream media points out and then look at the facts surrounding Halloween night. While out trick-or-treating, partying, or just walking around, make your own personal judgement through your own observation of your circumstance instead of constantly worrying about the infinite amount of possibilities that might happen.
Halloween Accidents Aren’t Just Witch’s Brew
One obvious fact surrounding Halloween: large crowds. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 40 million children participate in Halloween night and a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed mortality data from the Fatal Analysis Reporting System of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 1975 to 1996 and found that on Halloween night, fatality from injury does increase by four times as much than on any other night. However, this is not because of increased danger, but increased activity. The sheer number of people on the road, kids in awkward costumes, and young people partying simply means, be more aware than normal. Accidents aren’t lurking around every corner like a crazed ghost (that’s actually your friend or kid in a costume), but carelessness, like any other time of the year, can lead to catastrophic incidents. It’s not beware of danger! It’s be aware of everything!
Common Injuries, Car Accident Injuries
A study in 2010 showed that 96.8% of injuries that happen on Halloween do not result in hospitalization. An interesting fact from this study also showed that of these injuries, a third happen to children 10-14 years old and two-thirds of injuries happen to boys. The most common injuries were lacerations (from sharp props or parts of costumes) and bruises. Both of these are minor injury and, although severe injury does happen, take comfort in knowing that for the most part, injuries are as common as going to the weekend soccer game or hike.
Food Poisoning: The Candy Myth
Hospitals offer a service for screening candy for harmful chemicals, tampering, and foreign, harmful objects by strangers. The myth of poisoned candy has long been part of parents’ yearly Halloween checklists for years, but the facts surrounding this notion show that it is simply not true. Of the times where children were harmed by poisoned candy, many times it was because of hidden motives directly surrounding the child’s life (like insurance policies or insane parents). A study of over 500 bags of candy that were given hospitals for the screening service found no foreign or harmful substances in a single bag.
Many of our fears are simply ghosts we start to believe are really there, right behind us, waiting at every corner. Injury can lurk at any moment and part of what makes life so hard is its arbitrary nature, but turning a night of fun into a night of worry is like turning all the people in scary costumes into the actual things they are mocking. Halloween is a time to acknowledge hidden realms and imagined entities for the power they have over us and the power we have over ourselves. Be cautious, be aware, and have fun. Happy Halloween!
We know keeping your kids safe on the streets is important, so we’ve compiled a list of safe, kid-friendly neighborhoods for your Transformers and princesses to roam with safety.
Halloween Advice for Austin Trick-or-Treaters
- If your children are old enough to go out on their own – know their route.
- Remind children never to enter a stranger’s home, or accept rides from strangers.
- Remind children to say please and thank you when accepting candy.
- Remember, safety is always more important than candy!
Adult Safety on Halloween
- Be a safe and courteous driver.
- Turn on you porch light
- Keep jack-o-lanterns away from where kids trick-or-treating in groups get bunched up
- Remove objects from your yard that might present a hazard