Spooky Stat: 3,600 People Are Injured on Halloween Each Year. Here's How to Stay Safe

by Lauren Leazenby
Two glowing, a large orange one and a small white one, candlelit Halloween jack-o-lanterns, sit on a patio table on the balcony of a high rise residence with an urban skyline in the background.

HomeServe photo by Matt Schmitz

Halloween’s right around the corner, and for many families, that means trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, haunted houses, creepy decorations and all manner of costumes. But it’s not just the ghosts and goblins that make All Hallows’ Eve so spooky; turns out, some things about this holiday are actually a bit scary. On average, 3,600 people are treated for Halloween-related injuries in U.S. emergency departments every year.

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According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s data from the past three years, most of those injured were adults, but 44% were under 18 years old. Six percent of injuries were suffered by children under 2 years old.

The majority — 48% — of the injuries were related to pumpkin carving accidents. Trips and falls while decorating or trick-or-treating made up another 27% of injuries. Twenty-five percent of the injuries were due to lacerations, ingestions, allergic reactions, rashes and other Halloween-related mishaps.

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To help you stay safe this Halloween, the CPSC has recommended these safety precautions:

  • Make pumpkin carving a family activity. Leave the sharp knives to the adults and let younger children scoop out the pumpkin innards with a spoon. Let your kids draw their design on the pumpkin before you carve it out. Or, avoid knives altogether and paint your pumpkins.
  • Use battery-operated lights instead of open-flame candles for your decorations. If real candles are essential for the spooky vibe, make sure you keep them away from combustibles and never leave them unattended.
  • Wear — and make sure your children wear — costumes that fit. That hand-me-down superhero suit that’s still a little too big might be a tripping hazard. When choosing costumes, it’s best to pick something that won’t get in the way while your child’s walking.
  • Loose fabrics can also be a fire hazard. Reduce the chance of an incident by making sure all costumes are made of polyester or nylon, not cotton or rayon. No matter what it’s made from, keep the sleeves of your witch’s robe away from open flames!
  • Test all your decorations before putting them up. Look for frayed wires, broken sockets and loose connections before plugging in strings of lights.
  • If you’re using a ladder to put up decorations, practice ladder safety. Have a helper hold the base of the ladder, do not stand on the top rungs of the ladder and never leave a ladder unattended.

Video produced and directed by Eric Rossi: