IN DEPTH: Tricks to keep kids safe and out of the hospital this Halloween

Thousands suffer Halloween-related injuries yearly
Virus Outbreak Halloween
Posted at 5:12 AM, Oct 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-21 08:05:24-04

TAMPA, Fla. — As parents are getting the kid’s costumes ready and carving up a jack o'lantern ahead of Halloween, there are some tips and tricks to keep in mind to ensure the spooky holiday doesn’t end in an emergency room scare.

“The number one thing I see in the emergency room is kids who fall and get hurt, so having a safe costume would be the best way to start off having a good Halloween,” said Dr. Joe Perno, Vice President of Medical Affairs at John’s Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

St. Petersburg Police tell ABC Action News they get a lot of calls for pedestrian accidents on Halloween night as well.

“Make sure that the children are wearing reflective tape, they have a flashlight or something, a glow stick, something that makes them more visible in the dark street sometimes,” Officer Luis Martinez.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates an average of 3,600 Halloween-related injuries end up in emergency departments every year.

  • 27% falling down
  • 25% injuries such as cuts, ingesting items, and allergic reactions.
  • 48% related to pumpkin carving

“There are easy ways to reduce these hazards, one like leaving pumpkin carving to the adults. Child helpers can grab a spoon and scoop out the inside of the pumpkin, or trace the design on the pumpkin,” said Thaddeus Harrington with CPSC. “And when you’re ready to bring that pumpkin to life, use battery-operated lights or glow sticks.”


Perno says their emergency room primarily sees broken arms, cuts, scrapes and twisted ankles, as well as stomach aches.

“Inevitably, the night of Halloween we see a lot of kids who had too much chocolate,” Perno said.

He adds that he’s not too concerned about COVID-19 spreading on the surface of candy wrappers, but if you’re worried, he says you can let it sit for a few days or wipe it with a disinfecting wipe.

“And before you eat any of your candy, make sure you inspect it or wait til you get home where there's nice light so you can inspect all the wraps and make sure everything’s intact as originally packaged,” Officer Martinez added.

If you’re going to host a Halloween party, Perno suggests you opt to stay outside.

“Because you're going to have a bunch of kids that are wearing no protective masks, they may be wearing Halloween masks,” he advised. “Although community disease is falling, we're still in the pandemic, and we need to just think about some of those things.”

Even though parents should always stay with children while trick or treating, one thing you can do ahead of time in case they get lost is to write your phone number on their hand or a piece of paper and stick it in their pocket.