- Halloween Is the Most Dangerous Night of the Year for Children: Follow These Safety Tips for a Less Scary Holiday
Halloween Is the Most Dangerous Night of the Year for Children: Follow These Safety Tips for a Less Scary Holiday
Every year, one of the most enjoyable holiday celebrations for kids of all ages is marked by tragedy when children are injured or even killed by careless motorists. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control reports that kids are more than twice as likely to die due to motor vehicle accidents on Halloween than on any of the other 364 days of the year. Fortunately, the CDC, the National Safety Council, and KidsHealth.org all offer a number of good ideas for helping keep your kids safe on Halloween… and, of course, many of those same ideas can also be applied year-round to build good safety habits from which you and your kids will always benefit! Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re planning this year’s Halloween events.
Why Are Accident Fatalities So High on Halloween?
With so many children taking to residential roads and sidewalks in pursuit of trick-or-treating victories, you’d think motorists would be more conscientious when they get behind the wheel — or avoid driving altogether. But that is not the case. So, why do worst-case scenarios happen so frequently on the spookiest night of the year? To help you understand this unfortunate phenomenon, we’ve laid out some of the primary reasons below.
- Reason #1 — Overexcited kids.
Who can forget the thrill of the Halloween hunt for candy? Remember rushing from house to house to claim those tasty treats? All that frantic fun can pose some unpredictable problems, especially when eager children forget to follow basic traffic safety rules. So, what’s a concerned parent to do? While your kids may not entirely like it, you can help them stay safe if you discreetly tag along for the evening’s candy gathering. Even if you remain a few houses back to let them enjoy the evening somewhat independently, the presence of an unobtrusive yet alert adult in the background can go far in keeping kids both under control and cognizant of traffic safety. An expert in first aid, the American Red Cross offers some additional recommendations for child safety on Halloween to help prevent little ones from wandering into harm’s way.
- Reason #2 — Excessive alcohol.
Kids aren’t the only ones who throw caution to the wind this time of year. Halloween parties can be a blast, but hosts should be sure to keep an eye out for guests who might overindulge at their spooky soirees. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that the majority of drunk drivers killed on a recent Halloween night were between the ages of 21 and 34. It’s also worth noting that Michigan’s social host law states that hosts can be held liable if they let Halloween party guests depart while under the influence which could potentially result in a drunk driving accident. NHTSA officials offer several suggestions for ways to encourage safe celebrations, including arranging for designated drivers, limiting alcohol intake in the final hour of your Halloween festivities, and utilizing rideshare services like Uber and Lyft.
- Reason #3 — Early sunsets.
For decades, Daylight Savings Time ended in late October, causing nighttime darkness to arrive earlier by an hour just before Halloween. Trick-or-treaters might have enjoyed those earlier twilights, but public safety officials eventually noted that late October wasn’t ideal for the time change, especially since kids wearing darker costumes were far less visible after sunset. Starting in 2007, the switch to Standard Time was moved out to the first Sunday in November and darkness has arrived an hour later on Halloween night ever since. Earlier this year, the United States Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act which, if approved by the House of Representatives and written into law by President Biden, would make Daylight Savings Time a permanent fixture and eliminate risks posed by earlier sunsets. And while Daylight Savings Time could be the standard by November 2023, the status of the bill currently remains uncertain.
Regardless, it will still be pretty dark on Halloween night. So, how do we keep our precious little monsters safer after sunset, especially from a negligent driver? One simple solution is to include reflective material on their costumes to make them more visible to motorists. Another is providing them flashlights or glow sticks to carry, which can add to the festive vibes while keeping everyone protected.
Ensuring Safety on the Spookiest Night of the Year
While the aforementioned reasons are sobering reminders of potential Halloween dangers, there is good news — these conditions are almost completely unavoidable with the right prevention. To keep you and your little goblins as safe as possible, we’ve assembled the following, handy guide on ways to maximize the fun and minimize the risk. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Trick-or-Treating Preparation Tips
- Choose colorful, visible, and fire-resistant costumes that will stand out in dim nighttime conditions.
- Use glow sticks, flashlights, and reflective stickers to help improve kids’ visibility.
- Plan a trick-or-treating route that will keep you away from major roads and intersections.
- Start early – while it’s still light outside – and don’t let kids go out alone.
- When it comes to costumes, the FDA recommends using nontoxic Halloween cosmetics on kids’ faces rather than masks (which can interfere with the wearer’s peripheral vision), and avoiding decorative contact lenses (which are illegal unless prescribed by a doctor).
Best Practices When Going Door-to-Door
- Stay on sidewalks wherever you can to avoid tripping over unseen hazards and remain as far away from automobile traffic as possible.
- Always travel with a group, preferably supervised by one or more adults.
- Obey local curfews or set one yourself for your kids if your municipality hasn’t specified a designated time for trick-or-treating. You can also try indoor trick-or-treating at some Metro Detroit locations, or enjoy this year’s Halloween in the D sponsored by the City of Detroit.
- Remind children that they shouldn’t ever go inside homes or vehicles owned by strangers – whether it’s on Halloween or any other day.
- Instruct kids to sort through the candy they receive in a well-lit location when they return home to ensure wrappers are intact and treats contain no ingredients that they’re allergic to.
- Phones can be useful as you scour the neighborhood for candy handouts or document the festivities… but should only be used while standing still! Slipping and falling while texting or taking videos can put a damper on the fun, and – heaven forbid – could even cause you to drop your hard-earned treats!
Safety Guidelines if you Need to Hit the Roads
- Drive more cautiously than usual – remember kids can be careless and fearless. The National Safety Council suggests keeping an especially watchful eye out for children dressed up in dark costumes.
- It should go without saying, but don’t drink and drive – especially on Halloween. And if you’re attending a seasonal party, use a designated driver or use a rideshare service when it’s time to head home at the witching hour.
- As usual, don’t text while you’re driving. You don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of a judge and jury, especially during the upcoming holiday season
- If you’re a novice driver or have difficulties with night vision, Halloween is a very good evening to just stay home, hand out candy at the front door, and watch a scary movie on TV. If you absolutely must go out, ask a trusted friend or family member to take the wheel on your behalf. It could save you from doing something you’ll regret for the rest of your life.
Don’t Be Afraid — We’ve Got You Covered.
Just as we are day in and day out 24/7/365, we’ll be standing by on Halloween night to take your call at 855-MIKE-WINS (855-645-3946). Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you or someone you love are injured in any kind of mishap resulting from someone’s negligence or bad actions this Halloween or any other day of the year. We’ll represent your interests and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Content checked by Mike Morse, personal injury attorney with Mike Morse Injury Law Firm. Mike Morse is the founder of Mike Morse Law Firm, the largest personal injury law firm in Michigan. Since being founded in 1995, Mike Morse Law Firm has grown to 150 employees, served 25,000 clients, and collected more than $1 billion for victims of auto, truck and motorcycle accidents. The main office is in Southfield, MI but you can also find us in Detroit, Sterling Heights and many other locations.