It’s finally October here in Orlando! The weather is finally starting to cool down, college football is in full swing (Go Knights!), and the smells of pumpkin are beginning to waft through many local shops and businesses. Those of you who have kids are likely spending the month preparing for Halloween. Below you will learn more about this holiday along with some tips to follow in order to avoid any injuries.
The Origins of Halloween
Derived from the phrase “All Hallows’ Evening,” Halloween originates from an ancient Gaelic festival called Samhain, which was held at the halfway point between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. Samhain was a celebration of the harvest season, and was held in order to prepare for the winter. The ancient Gaels who participated in Samhain believed that on that date, the worlds of the living and the dead merged into one, and if the souls of the dead were not appeased, they would cause the destruction of important crops and foodstuffs before the grueling winter. As a result, special protective bonfires were often lit, and individuals would dress up in costumes and masks in order to appease the spirits that visited them on that day.
Over time, the festival of Samhain began to change and evolve into the Halloween we now know today. Although many of the ancient rituals of Samhain have largely been abandoned, certain aspects such as dressing up in costume, lighting fires in Jack-O-Lanterns, and trick-or-treating still remain with us today. While children across many different countries continue to enjoy these various aspects, this is not to say that Halloween is without potential safety risks, especially given that children are walking on the streets in the dark, and sometimes unsupervised.
Stay Safe! – Here Are Some Useful Tips
Along with Near Year’s Eve and Independence Day, Halloween is among the top three holidays with the most injuries and deaths here in the United States. On average, there are 5.5 child pedestrian deaths that occur on Halloween, compared with 2.6 deaths for every other day of the year. Children are therefore twice as likely, on average, to be struck by a vehicle on Halloween compared to any other night. There is also a risk of Halloween candy being poisoned or tampered with, but there have been very few examples of any injuries having occurred from this.
In order to keep your kids and other loved ones safe this Halloween, follow these quick tips:
- Supervise your young children – A recent Halloween safety study showed that 12% of children who are 5 years old or younger were allowed to trick-or-treat by themselves. Parents should not be letting any child under the age of 12 to trick-or-treat alone. If you have older children who do not want to go out with you, ensure they go trick-or-treating with a group of friends, and discuss Halloween safety tips (only walk on sidewalks, only cross at crosswalks, etc.) before they go out.
- Reflective tape – Less than 20% of parents use reflective tape on their child’s Halloween costume. Reflective tape can help make your children more visible to motorists. A bike light or any other strong, blinking light can be used in substitute of reflective tape.
- Safe Costumes – Ensure that your child’s costume does not have long fabric that can easily be snagged or tripped on. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure that he/she can see clearly through the mask.
If you have any questions or need help with a personal injury matter, please contact us today.