It’s that time of year again when people find absolutely any excuse to get absorbed into the Halloween spirit and engage in creepy and chilling behaviour during a fright night of invented horror.
While Halloween should be a fun day and night filled with tricks and treats, there are some risks associated with traditional Halloween rituals. I have been lucky to date to escape any Halloween induced accidents and injuries. So here is my guide on staying safe on this auspicious day.
1. Frightening Fancy Dress
One of the key elements of Halloween celebrations are costumes. Adults and children celebrating Halloween dress up in elaborate outfits to get into the spirit of the event.
Unfortunately, these costumes can pose a health risk. There are many poorly manufactured costumes on sale which are not fire resistant. It is common for candles to be lit during Halloween and it is very easy for outfits to come into contact with exposed flames especially when children who are not paying attention to their surroundings. A child’s costume catching on fire can lead to severe burn injuries that can be extremely painful and lead to severe scarring. It is important to ensure any outfits that are purchased are fire resistant to prevent and minimise the risk of life threatening injuries.
One tip is that you could wear brightly coloured costumes which will also increase visibility on dark streets and alert drivers to nearby pedestrians.
2. Haunted House
Halloween is a unique event when strangers will feel comfortable to come onto your property to get Sweets and chocolate. This gives rise to liability for property owners. If someone slips, trips or falls due to a hazard on your property, you can be held liable for any injuries sustained. It is important to make sure walkways are clear and your home is well lit, so trick-or-treaters can see where they are walking. It is also helpful to put warning signs by any steps, uneven pavement, or dangerous conditions.
If you are a pet owner and in particular if you own a dog it is important to keep your dog in a safe, place. Even the nicest dog may get overwhelmed with high levels of activity and unfamiliar visitors. You don’t want to risk any trick-or-treaters getting a dog bite, so make sure the dog is secure. Children should also be reminded not to approach or pet an unfamiliar dog
It is important not to leave open, lit candles outside. An open, lit candle presents the risk of someone knocking it over or falling into it, or a costume getting caught on fire. Use battery operated candles or decorative lights outside as an alternative.
3. Rocky Road
There are a lot more people walking outside during the night on Halloween. It is important to keep a watch for pedestrians in the street. Equally pedestrians need to be cautious around cars where it is possible the driver could be under the influence after attending a Halloween party. It is useful for children to carry a torch or wear reflectors on costumes, so they are visible.
It is advisable to be on the lookout for pedestrians wearing dark costumes who may be hard to spot. Don’t expect children to be vigilant as some of them might be wearing a costume, mask, or hat that obstructs their view. Also, be careful when pulling into a driveway and look to make sure no trick or treaters are prowling about your house.
Pedestrians should avoid walking between parked cars and cross the street looking in both directions. It is a good idea to stay within areas that are well lit by streetlamps and to walk to each location instead of running, and finally to stay in groups.
Many teenagers who trick or treat might be tempted to continue posting to social media sites which will cause them to become distracted. The distraction related with watching a mobile phone screen poses a significant risk of a trip and fall or slip and fall accident for pedestrians. Young children and teenagers might fail to notice hazards on the pavement or approaching vehicles when distracted by their mobile phone. It is important to remain vigilant at all times and especially when using a mobile phone.
4. Scary Sweets
Children will believe all those brightly coloured treats are the perfect form of fuel and energy for, but they could end up making them ill, especially with the rise of nut and other allergies that can trigger immediate health problems. It is important for parents to check each all sweets and food items to make sure they are sealed and unopened. Furthermore, rotten or suspicious looking treats should be thrown away.
We have all heard the Halloween horror stories. But the scariest of them all are the ones where the main characters of those stories are you or a loved one. I am not saying that people should not enjoy Halloween but just to be careful and mindful of any risks. As personal injury lawyers we see the effects of these types of injuries so frequently but I hope by following these tips you are able to reduce the risk and have a good time.
Have a happy and safe Halloween from everyone at Hodge Jones & Allen!