The frights of Halloween are mostly fictional fun. But there are a few things, experts warn, that do pose an actual hazard — and they’re not all limited to young children, as one might expect. Here are a few things that adults, teens, kids and even pets can be negatively affected by during the holiday.
Cars and Drunken Drivers
More young pedestrians are killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. In fact, the number of pedestrian deaths caused by cars doubles on Oct. 31, according to State Farm.
While it’s a good idea to talk to young children about the importance of staying close and holding an adult’s hand while crossing the street, USA Today reports that it’s actually youths aged 12 to 18 who are at highest risk, probably because this age group is more likely to be without parental supervision and distracted with cell phones or friend groups.
Drunken driving has become an increasing concern as well, as Halloween has become increasingly embraced by adults. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has documented that the percentage of crashes caused by drunken drivers is nearly 50% on Halloween, as opposed to 30% on an average night.
And with Halloween falling on a Friday this year, potentially encouraging even less inhibited partying, officials are urging extra caution.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, pumpkin carving accounts for more than half of the yearly emergency room visits that are Halloween-related.
The slipperiness of the pumpkins and the sharp knives — often in inexperienced hands — can be an extremely dangerous combination.
Candy is a danger, but probably not because of the reasons most embedded in popular culture. The chance that there are razor blades or poison in a child’s treat-or-treating haul is negligible. “If you are worrying about your kids receiving poisoned candy from strangers — something never actually documented in the USA — you probably are worrying about the wrong thing,” Kim Painter writes in an article for USA Today.
But children who have allergies can accidentally eat the wrong candies. Dogs can even be in danger if they gobble up some of the candy as it’s poured out at home, since chocolate can cause stomach problems or even death for dogs.
Adults should look out for sticky candies. About 15 million Americans have crown and bridge replacements for missing teeth, and dentists say caramels and similar treats can pull crowns right out.
Families looking to offload excess candy can often turn to local dental offices. Some dentists in New York are even collecting candy to send to soldiers overseas.
The real poisoning concern on Halloween is not from candy, but glow sticks, according to a warning released by the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center. While glow sticks can be a good addition to make costumes more visible, parents should ensure their children aren’t chewing on them.
An even greater concern is the toxic content of liquid candles or lamp oil, often used in jack-o-lanterns. These liquids look like fruit juice, and can cause a life-threatening reaction if ingested.
“Maybe the safest thing to do this year is hand out the candy,” Allison Manning jokes in her article for the Dispatch.“The only danger there, if you sample too much, is indigestion.”