Trick-or-treating is an old tradition, dating to at least the 1920s in the United States of America, and going back at least 400 years in the United Kingdom. Children dressing up and going house to house to collect candy or other sweets has survived the many cultural shakeups that have occurred from the Great Depression through today.
Nearly as old as the tradition of trick-or-treating itself is the elevated risk to children that accompanies this practice. Though Center for Disease Control (CDC) data only goes back to 1976, the risk or significant injury or death in a car accident is double for children on Halloween night as it is the rest of the year, particularly with regards to pedestrian deaths and injuries.
There are multiple factors at play in these numbers, but certain risk factors are elevated on this holiday, including:
- More pedestrian children, as many children who rarely traverse sidewalks the rest of the year are out and about
- Children who are excited and not paying enough attention crossing the street
- Children wearing dark clothes or costumes that reduce their visibility to drivers, particularly after dark
- More and more adults attending Halloween parties where alcohol is served, then driving drunk
Of these, parents can mitigate the risk of overly excited children and dark costumes, particularly if the parent accompanies the trick-or-treating child. Dressing a kid in a bright costume or including reflective tape can reduce the risk of a child not being seen by a driver. Unfortunately parents have no control over the behavior of others, and drunk driving remains a societal scourge.
If your child has been injured as a pedestrian in an accident, a full investigation regarding the details of the crash should take place. Determining whether the driver was drunk or distracted is an important step in making sense of the incident. Please, consult with an experienced attorney regarding your case.