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Halloween and Personal Injury: The Scariest Night of the Year

Halloween and Personal Injury: The Scariest Night of the Year

Halloween is a wonderful holiday, full of costumes, candy, and creepy-crawly decorations. However, it can also be a dangerous day, with higher rates of car accidents and other types of personal injuries.

This year injury rates are expected to be lower because of COVID-19 and more subdued celebration, including less trick-or-treating, but it’s important to be mindful of the potential dangers.

The following are Halloween-related dangers and the precautions you can take to protect your family and community.



The CDC has categorized indoor costume parties, haunted houses, and trick-or-treating this year as “high risk activities,” recommending against them.

Governor Cuomo has not banned them, however, instead issuing safety guidelines.

Precautions for parents

  • In addition to federal, state, and local laws and regulations, Halloween-specific COVID-19 safety precautions can be found on the CDC website.
  • Consider modifying trick-or-treating this year. Instead, trick-or-treat only in houses of friends and family with which you’ve arranged beforehand.
  • If you, your children, or anyone you’ve come into contact with has exhibited signs of illness, stay home.
  • If you’re going out, make sure you and your children are wearing masks (not just the scary kind!) and that the children keep the masks on. Consider carrying extras. Also carry hand sanitizer.
  • Maintain safe distancing when trick-or-treating around other children.
  • Do not trick-or-treat at homes where safe distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Wait to eat the candy at home.

Precautions for homeowners

  • If you’re handing out candy, preferably place it on a table outside, where you can spread it out and kids don’t have to rummage through it. Stay behind the glass door.



Most injuries on Halloween involve child pedestrians and cars.

Drivers should be more cautious on Halloween, especially in the evening and particularly in residential neighborhoods. Children often cross in the middle of the street at night in dark costumes and without looking.

Precautions for parents

  • Accompany your children on their trick-or-treating.
  • Discuss Halloween safety with them, with a focus on rules of the road.
  • If their costumes are dark, add reflective tape or stickers, lights, or other visibility aids, and/or have them carry a flashlight or glow stick (these can be placed in their treat buckets. Phone flashlights also work if they’re visible).
  • Make sure they don’t ride their bikes or skateboards wearing a costume.
  • Arrange trick-or-treating groups with friends and other parents.

Precautions for motorists

  • If you’re driving, don’t drink, at all.
  • Obey all traffic laws, particularly the speed limit, and drive extra slowly in residential neighborhoods.
  • Be careful and alert. Expect children to jump in front of you without looking.
  • Turn your headlights on early in the day.
  • Consider adding lights to your vehicle and/or playing loud music to alert pedestrians of your approach.
  • This is a day where you need to expect the unexpected.



As kids dash about in a sugar-fueled craze to stockpile more candy, often in cumbersome and vision-limiting costumes, they’re more likely to trip, slip, or fall and get hurt.

Precautions for parents

  • Discuss Halloween safety with your children, reminding them not to run and to be careful when walking up and down stairs.
  • Hold younger children’s hands.
  • Make sure their costumes provide comfortable movement and unobstructed vision.
  • Be alert for any potential hazards on properties you enter.

Precautions for homeowners

  • Make sure your property is safe and properly maintained.
  • Look for loose or damaged cement, bricks, pavers, boards, fence posts, etc.
  • Make sure the path to your front door is well lit and unobstructed. Homeowners must assume that they’ll have visitors that night that are not familiar with their property, and defects which are normally open and obvious are concealed in the dark.
  • Same for your lawn, which excited children may cut through.


With a little common sense and safety precautions, Halloween can still be celebrated. It just needs to be modified from years past.

Have a safe and happy Halloween from everyone at VMM!


Richard Apat is the head of Vishnick McGovern Milizio LLP’s Personal Injury Practice. His work encompasses all aspects of injury due to the negligence or wrongdoing, including motor vehicle accidents, construction accidents, workplace accidents, all types of premises accidents, slip & falls, product liability, and wrongful death cases. He can be reached at rapat@vmmlegal.com and 516.437.4385 x152.