Forewarned is Forearmed: Can we Defeat the Beast of Hallowe’en Hazards?

Updated: Apr 21

Beloved by adults and children alike, Hallowe’en gives children and big kids the chance for some sugar- fuelled escapism and costumed fun. But is there a more dangerous underbelly to the beast of Hallowe’en?

Check our quick guide to Hallowe’en safety to find out more.



Road Traffic Collisions

Studies carried out by Churchill Car Insurance found that on the 31st of October, road traffic accidents increased by 75% compared to the rest of October, with 49 child pedestrians losing their lives. This is around twice the average number for the two weeks in the run-up to, and immediately after Hallowe’en (17th October to 14th November).


Adults have also been found to have on average 295 accidents on Hallowe’en, suggesting that they are just as likely to be in danger.


These accidents are also more likely to happen later in the evening- when many are out trick or treating or heading to parties. In the early evening, before the celebrations really kick into gear (between 3-6 pm), only 31% of accidents occur, significantly less than on average (around 46%).


However, on Hallowe’en, 47% of car accidents occur between 6-9 pm, significantly more than the 19% average, due to the increase in foot traffic in the true dark of night.





Catastrophic Candles and Deadly Decorations



[1] We all love to decorate our houses in the run-up to major holidays, and thanks to their delicate flickering, atmospheric candles tend to feature heavily. However, in the period of 2019-2020, 2% of UK house fires were caused by candles[2] and can sadly result in deaths, as was the case for Lucas Carter, aged just 8 years old in 2016.[3]


Fire Officers continue to advocate this year for the use of battery-operated LED candles which give the same effect with none of the risks to your home or loved ones, including within the traditional carved pumpkin itself. Some LED candles even come with colour-change features that can make your pumpkin look even more spooky!

Glowing multicoloured pumpkins with different spooky faces.

Decorations too can pose a real hazard for the home, even when situated away from real candles. The highly flammable details we add to our homes can risk combustion from any heat and light sources, so keep these well away from anything that can give out heat or light.


[4]Costume Safety


All costumes should be CE, and/or UKCA marked and should be brought from a reputable retailer.

Home-made costumes, although lots of fun to make, can be much more flammable and take less time to burn as they are not held to the same fire safety standards.

Child's witch costume melts and burns.

Light-up or reflective elements on children’s costumes will also ensure they are seen by passing motorists and can be easily applied with sticky strips.


For further costume information, please see our earlier article, entitled ‘Hallowe'en costume safety: The very real nightmare?'


The Teal-Blue Bucket


For the parents of children who suffer allergic reactions to common allergens, Hallowe’en can be very scary. Some of the most serious allergies create anaphylactic shock and can result in children being admitted to local hospitals. So how can we help?

Different coloured pumpkin buckets to communicate invisible disabilities or allergies to the general public.

An American initiative nicknamed ‘The Blue Bucket’ aims to raise awareness of children who have specific allergies without them needing to explain it at every house. Instead, while trick or treating, they simply carry a teal blue bag or bucket to collect their sweets from their neighbours. This alerts the house, and their friends that they have a specific allergy and sometimes cannot have the sweets they are offered.


An important note here is to be mindful of the kind of blue colour on the child’s bucket, as a darker, more royal blue may be an indicator for Autism/ Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) rather than an allergy.[5] Similarly, the purple bucket indicates that a child lives with Epilepsy.


Top Hallowe’en Safety Tips

  • Always use glowsticks or LED battery-operated candles- never live flames.

  • Only purchase CE and/ or UKCA approved flame-retardant costumes. If they light up or reflect light, then this negates the risk of collisions with cars on our roads.

  • Keep decorations away from all sources of heat and light.

  • Ensure children and young adults understand how to cross the road safely and are supervised where possible.

  • Teach all children the basics of fire safety, including STOP, DROP & ROLL (which continues to be the go-to piece of advice from firefighters if someone does ignite.)

  • Ensure all smoke alarms are in correct working order.

  • Ensure you ask adults and children about allergies when giving out treats. Stickers and glow sticks are a good alternative.


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[1] Image taken from BBC Good Food, ‘Top 10 pumpkin carving tips,’ <https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/top-10-pumpkin-carving-tips> 08.10.2021

[2] Statistic taken from Home Office, National Statistics, National Statistics, Fire and rescue incident statistics: England, year ending March 2021, <https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fire-and-rescue-incident-statistics-england-year-ending-march-2021/fire-and-rescue-incident-statistics-england-year-ending-march-2021>, 08.10.2021

[3] BBC News, ‘Halloween pumpkin started fire that killed Lucas Carter,’ <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-44486196>, 08.10.2021

[4] Image taken from ITV, ‘What to look out for when buying your child's Halloween costume,’ <https://www.itv.com/news/2015-10-27/what-to-look-out-for-when-buying-your-childs-halloween-costume> 08.10.2021.

[5] The Independent, ‘WHAT IT MEANS IF YOU SEE A BLUE TRICK-OR-TREAT BUCKET OR PUMPKIN THIS HALLOWEEN,’ https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/blue-pumpkin-bucket-halloween-trick-or-treat-allergy-autism-teal-project-why-children-a8610636.html> 08.10.2021

Cover image from Pexels.com, courtesy of Toni Cuenca

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