jack-o-lantern and Halloween Safety

Halloween is an exciting and celebratory time, especially for children. During this seasonal autumn holiday children love thinking of original costume ideas, dressing up, making candy apples, attending Halloween parties, and eating the bagfuls of candy that they’ve earned from a night of trick-or-treating.

However, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that Halloween is one of America’s most deadly and dangerous holidays. Beating out the Fourth of July and New Years Eve, Halloween reportedly is the American holiday associated with the most injuries and deaths. On Halloween, 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.

To help keep you and your children safe during this year’s Halloween celebrations, here are a few pointers. Tips for ensuring that children stay safe during this popular holiday include:

  • Buy costumes that are tighter and more form fitting rather than costumes that are loose.

If costumes are too baggy, this increases the likelihood that a child may trip over his or her costume and fall, resulting in serious injury. Likewise, if walkways, driveways, or roads are slippery, a loose-fitting costume makes it more likely that a person will become victim to these less-than-perfect conditions, resulting in consequent injury.

  • Make sure any costumes are light in color and reflective.

If at all possible, try to have the candy-eager children walk rather than run from house to house. Encourage children to take sidewalks or pathways in the neighborhood rather than permitting them to track through lawns and yards. Hidden dangers such as rakes, hoses, Halloween decorations, lawn ornaments, rocks and stones can be abound in lawns, so it is best to avoid walking through them, if at all possible. Additionally, make sure that children or anyone dressed in dark clothing never walk directly in the street.

If costumes are or clothing is too dark, this might increase the possibility that a car would not be able to see a person. Thus, in wearing dark clothing, a child, or anyone for that matter, risks the possibility of not being visible to and therefore getting injured by a vehicle whose driver may not be paying 100% attention. Many drivers are ignorant to the fact that it is Halloween and there are more people than usual darting in and out of the streets on this exciting evening. You may want to carry flashlights or glow sticks if possible to increase visibility. Additionally, if a mask is used, make sure that it is securely fitted and has eyeholes big enough to avoid any difficulty in vision and sight.

  • Purchase flame resistant costumes and accessories.

trick-or-treaters using Halloween SafetyEnsuring that you and your children have flame resistant costumes is also important. Jack-o-lanterns are within close proximity to everyone on Halloween, often being displayed on driveways, porches, or street corners. Because jack-o-lanterns contain burning candles, anyone coming near them is exposed to open flames which can be very dangerous. In addition to making sure that any costumes are flame resistant, it is essential that any accessories, including wigs, masks, or beards, are also flame resistant. If you are planning on setting out a jack-o-lantern yourself, it may be preferable to use a non-flame light source, rather than an open candle to illuminate your pumpkin. With lit pumpkins displayed on landings and doorsteps, trick-or-treaters face the risk that their costumes may brush against the flame.

  • Watch out for dangerous animals.

Try to be cautious of domestic animals, such as dogs, which may be easily frightened by children in ghost and goblin costumes running across their yard. Even a mild-mannered dog may become spooked at the sights and sounds of such Halloween creatures which, unfortunately, leaves the potential for dog bites.

  • Check candy for any tampering.

Strive to minimize any harm to your children which may result from candy that has been tampered with. Taking a few minutes to check your children’s candy bars before they begin to enjoy their treats will help prevent against this risk.

Halloween can continue to be fun holiday, but taking certain precautions can help to make it safer. Simply taking these small safety steps into consideration can go a long way. To ensure that you and your children can fully enjoy the holiday, try to follow the safety tips above, as well as other hazard-avoiding tips which make sense to you. Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the holiday!

Author Photo

Paul d’Oliveira

Attorney Paul d’Oliveira has been practicing personal injury and disability law for over 30 years. He started his personal injury law practice in 1989 with two offices in Fall River, MA and East Providence, RI. Today his firm has 16 offices in RI and Southeastern, MA.

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