Is Halloween Really More Dangerous for Pedestrians?Halloween is full of a lot of fun activities. There are haunted houses, costumes, scary movies, and decorations. More people are walking on the streets and riding bikes than on any other day of the year, and unfortunately, drivers do not always adjust their driving to account for the increase in pedestrian traffic. Sadly, the population most at risk of a fatal accident are children.

Yes, Halloween is the most dangerous day of the year for pedestrians, especially trick-or-treaters.

What do the studies say?

Over the last four decades, statistics show a 43% higher rate of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween. These accidents happen most frequently between 5 pm and 11:59 pm. In total, there were 851 pedestrian deaths on Halloween nights. On average, each Halloween, there are four additional pedestrian deaths as compared to other days of the week. Risk factors increase for children between the ages of four and eight years old, with 6 pm being the most dangerous time. Shockingly, studies found that when the holiday is on a Saturday, there is actually a lower risk of pedestrian accidents than on any other day of the week, and the deadliest day for Halloween is Friday.

Other risk factors are that pedestrians are having so much fun they are not looking before crossing the street, and visibility is lower at night, making it harder for motorists to see someone crossing the street. Safety officers who are usually there to help children cross safely are off duty. Parents or other adults must stay with the children during their trick-or-treating adventures to stay vigilant of any possible dangers. Aside from children in costumes, teenagers, young adults, and others celebrate in a different way, like attending parties or clubs where there are sure to be drugs and alcohol.

Trick-or-treater safety tips for parents

Halloween is supposed to be fun, right? Your kids probably waited all year for it. (We know that ours always did.) And we know that most folks are perfectly fine letting their kids have free range of the neighborhood throughout the year, so you might assume that on this day, there’s really nothing to worry about. Everyone knows the kids are out and they’ll be more careful, won’t they?

Well, not always. For some people, this is their world and we’re just living in it. Your kids aren’t responsible for negligent drivers, of course, but we do have a few recommendations that could help keep them safe.

Make sure they can move and breathe in their costumes

If you’re of a certain age, you probably remember those awful plastic masks that came with every child’s costume in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. It was hard to see AND hard to breathe, and we’re glad today’s kids don’t have to deal with them. But even without a mask, it can still be hard to see – especially if it’s a year with snow – so make sure your kids can move easily and that their costumes don’t block their peripheral vision.

Let them go – but show them how to keep in touch

If you’re got little ones – like, “needs two hands to hold the plastic pumpkin” little ones, then you should be keeping an eye on them. You can decide when they’re old enough (or mature enough) to head out on their own, or with an older sibling. If you’re a little anxious, send them along with your phone; they can call you in case of emergency.

You could always ask their friends’ parents when they’re going out. There really is safety in numbers. One kid in Black Adam costume might be hard to spot, but a whole gaggle of kids in different costumes would be pretty hard to miss.

And if you really are nervous, because maybe this is your kids’ first year where they’re old enough to go out on their own, don’t worry. Minot has a ton of different Halloween-related events you can attend, if you like. You can see a full list here.

Lighting can prevent an accident

Trick-or-treating is the most fun the darker it gets. But it can also be the most dangerous time. Encourage your kids to carry some glowsticks or a flashlight for trick-or-treating after dark, and to stick to sidewalks. We know some parents implement a curfew, so that’s another option.

Safety tips for Minot drivers on Halloween

If you need to travel on Halloween – even if it’s just your daily commute – you’ll need to be extra vigilant. After all, driving safely is the driver’s responsibility, and they must be ready to react. There was less pedestrian traffic in the last few years; this year there will be an increase in pedestrians and trick-or-treaters, and drivers must prepare.

Slow down

Driving at night is riskier than during the day, especially with increased pedestrian traffic. If you are planning to drive at night during Halloween, you should assume that there are going to be kids EVERYWHERE. They’re going to dart out into traffic, even if they know better. They’re going to crowd the sidewalk. Someone is probably going to swing a pillowcase full of candy at someone else. They’re kids. They do dopey stuff. So either leave a little earlier, or plan to be a little late. Just slow down.

You should also be aware of any special events or areas with Halloween parties so you can avoid them, or adjust your driving accordingly.

Avoid distractions

As a general rule, you should stop playing with your phones when you’re behind the wheel – but especially on Halloween, you need to be aware of your surroundings. (Remember the whole “kids do dopey stuff” from a minute ago?) Keep your eyes on the road, and lower the music a bit. You never know what you might hear.

Don’t drive drunk or high

Halloween is fun for adults, too. If you’re going to an adult party and plan to imbibe some adult beverages (or other substances), plan ahead. Call a Lyft or get a DD, or just plan to set tight for the night. Drinking and driving is a deadly combination.

Halloween is meant to be a fun evening full of laughs and candy, but it has a combination of risk factors that increase the likelihood of an accident: darkness, heavy pedestrian traffic, distractions, dark costumes, people up to no good, and reckless drivers. While the risk of an accident is higher, that does not exempt drivers from liability. If you’re injured on Halloween, call the pedestrian accident lawyers of Larson Law Firm in Bismarck, Minot, or Fargo at 701-484-HURT, or submit our contact form.