Poppe Law Firm®

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Trick or Trip to the ER? Stay Safe this Halloween!

It is Halloween season once again, when doorbells across America ring with excited 3-foot-tall vampires, princesses, witches, and warlocks demanding candy and admiring jack-o-lanterns on the porch step. However, along with the joy of the season comes a spooky increase in the number of inquiries to children and adults of all ages from Halloween decorations, costumes, and outings.

In a three-year study of over 3,200 Halloween-related injuries resulting in emergency room treatment, the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission (“CPSC”) determined injuries from Halloween activities broke down as follows:

  • 55% related to pumpkin carving.
  • 25% due to falls while putting up or taking down decorations, tripping on costumes or walking while trick-or-treating.
  • 20% of the injuries include lacerations, ingestions and other injuries associated with costumes, pumpkins or decorations, and allergic reactions or rashes.

The CPSC notes the majority of those injured were adults, but nearly 1-in-10 of those injuries were children under 6-years-old. Moreover, lanterns, candles, and light decorations create fire safety risks this time of year with candles and electrical cords/plugs associated with an average of 5,600 and 1,600 fires, respectively, from 2017 through 2019.

The CPSC recommends letting adults take the lead on pumpkin carving, with children helping to scoop out the jack-o-lantern’s inside with a blunt spoon. It also recommends avoiding baggy costumes that risk tripping and wearing flame-resistant fabrics such as nylon and polyester. Costumes should also not restrict visibility for the costume-wearer and should be visible to others, especially drivers who might not easily see children in dark costumes in unlit areas. The CPSC also strongly advises against using flames and candles and to instead use electrical decorations, as well as checking to make sure there are no broken or cracked lights or frayed wires on any Halloween decoration.  

In addition to injuries from decorations and costumes, Halloween also carries with it a higher risk of much more serious injuries, including an increase in car wreck fatalities. According to AutoInsurance.org, an insurer-backed safety group, for the 15 years between 2004-to-2019, October 31 has a much higher death rate from fatal wrecks compared to what the average is for that particular day of the week in other years. Several of those killed in car wrecks are young children, who often wear dark outfits difficult to see while trick-or-treating.

Along with the increase in car wreck fatalities is also an unfortunate increase in crime, including drunk driving and property crimes. According to researchers at Northwestern University, violent crimes increase by as much as 50% on Halloween. Travelers Insurance reports a 24% rise in crime-related property insurance claims on October 31, often because many people’s homes are empty as they are out celebrating.

As the ghosts, ghouls, and goblins in your life head out the door for trick-or-treating, we at the Poppe Law Firm hope their evenings are filled with candy and only fun scares. If, however, someone in your life suffers a serious injury or loss, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 502-895-3400.

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