By Sy Mukherjee
October 31, 2017

Halloween 2017 brings with it extravagant spending on costumes and candy, entirely excessive Halloween candy and sugar consumption, and even a new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning about the dangers of eating too much black licorice. But with all the revelry, it’s important to keep safety in mind—especially for a holiday that’s so centered on children. And historical data shows that kids out trick or treating are far more likely to die in car accidents on Halloween night.

Data compiled by the National Safety Council finds that there were 6,700 pedestrian deaths in 2015 related to motor vehicle accidents. About 17% of those involved pedestrians rushing into intersections when they weren’t supposed to and 15% are attributable to low lighting or dark clothing; 15% of these deaths in kids aged five to nine were associated with them running into the street or intersection (as they might when they’re out to trick or treat).

That’s annual data. But the available information also notes a significant mortality spike in October, which is the second deadliest month for motor vehicle deaths, according to the National Safety Council. That adds to a previous Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study finding that kids are twice as likely to be killed after getting hit by a car on Halloween.

Dark, awkwardly fitting Halloween costumes, an abundance of kids running around, and the fact that the most popular trick or treating hours are around 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm (when visibility is low) significantly increases the risk of deadly car accidents. Which is why public safety organizations like Safe Kids Worldwide recommend that all trick or treaters under the age of 12 be accompanied by an adult on Halloween. The groups also has other important safety tips like giving kids flashlights or glow sticks and putting reflective tape or stickers on their costumes. It may also be a good idea to avoid masks that restrict visibility if at all possible.

As for drivers: Be alert, and operate your vehicles with caution.

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