Jimmy Kang/ Portola HS 11th
Every year, millions of kids around the world look forward to their favorite holiday: Halloween. The unique aspect to this holiday is that most kids, especially the little ones, look forward to to the fact that they get to stay awake outside, late at night. Although this may seem like a wonderful time for the young ones, it may be a nightmare for parents.
Everyone’s heard of the horror stories involving poisoned candies, kids that disappear inside the house and never come back, razor blades in apples, and the other plethora of ways in which a kid could get hurt. For this exact reason, most parents are very hesitant to let their children roam free during Halloween. However, how exaggerated is this statement? Are kids legitimately in danger when they go on their crusade for candy?
As it turns out, they are. However, it’s not even remotely close to the reasons related to the urban legends that we’ve all heard of. Although poisoning and crime dangers exist, they are not nearly as prevalent as rumors make them out to be. The most common injuries and hospital visits came from pedestrian accidents. Car accidents took the vast majority of accidents and injuries, with about 43% of all motor-related deaths resulting from DUI.
Dr. Sarah Denny, a physician in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, stated that “A lot of it is the excitement of what’s going on and people are less careful.” This statement holds true, as a lot of accidents that normally would never be a problem suddenly spike in volume and intensity on Halloween Day.
For example, a lot of good-willed parents wrap all sorts of glow sticks around their children to make sure that cars can see them. Incidentally, Dr Henry Spiller, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center, estimates that about 800 children head to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital every year for glowstick-related injuries. In addition to glowstick-related injuries, decorations and different Halloween-related things may be a fire hazard. According to the National Fire Protection Association, decoration-caused blazes caused approximately 6 civilian deaths, 47 injuries, and 12.9 million in direct property damage every year.
However, these still are dangers, and the important thing is how people in communities feel about the holiday itself. Heejay Park, a student in Irvine, stated, “I didn’t feel particularly unsafe trick or treating, but there are definitely a large group of people moving across the streets, so that made me feel a little bit uncomfortable.” His concern is not completely misplaced. With auto accidents being very prevalent on Halloween, especially with the addition of people drinking, the thing you probably have to watch out for the most are cars.
Alternatively, Park also stated, “In the one time I did go, I felt safe trick or treating. Of course, there’s still the dangerous factor that you’re outside late at night, but the fact that there are large groups of people on the street make you feel safer.” Again, the crowds of people going trick-or-treating, while dangerous, may provide a safer shield against some of the more traditional fears.
So, this Halloween, while still being cautious of the urban horrors, it may be wiser to shift your focus to some of the more mundane horrors, and still have fun.
<Jimmy Kang/ Portola HS 11th