Halloween is one of the top three most dangerous days of the year for overall pedestrian injuries and fatalities, according to a AAA analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data. Moreover, it is is the single deadliest day of the year for child pedestrians, who are three times more likely to be struck and killed by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year, per NHTSA.
A 2019 study in Jama Pediatrics previously found that children between the ages of four and eight are 10 times more likely to be killed on Halloween than any other fall evening – and that 6 to 7 p.m. is the holiday's single deadliest hour. With upwards of ninety percent of crashes caused by human error, including drinking and texting while driving, Halloween presents an important opportunity for drivers to remember that vulnerable lives are in their hands whenever they're behind the wheel.
“You can prevent Halloween from becoming a nightmare with a few steps to keep our kids and community safe,” said AAA Colorado spokesman Skyler McKinley. “Parents should take the time to make their children’s costumes highly visible to drivers. Motorists, for their part, must slow down and watch for children. And don’t plan on drinking at a Halloween celebration unless you have a designated driver or safe ride home.”
By the numbers:
- Children are three times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year. This is especially alarming considering an estimated 41.1 million children between the ages of five and 14 trick-or-treated in the United States in 2017.
- Halloween ranks as the third-deadliest day of the year for all pedestrians.
- Nearly half of fatal crashes on Halloween night involve a drunk driver.
- One-third of Halloween crash fatalities involve a pedestrian.
AAA Halloween Safety Tips
- Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals. Drive at least 5 mph below the posted speed limit to give yourself extra time to react to children who may dart into the street. Drive even slower than that if confronted by snow-covered or icy streets from recent winter storms.
- Look for children crossing the street. They may not be paying attention to traffic and may cross the street mid-block or between parked cars.
- Carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys.
- Turn your headlights on to make yourself more visible – even in the daylight.
- Broaden your scanning by looking for children left and right into yards and on front porches.
- Never drive impaired. Never text and drive.
- Make sure Halloween costumes are flame-retardant and light in color to improve visibility.
- Be bright at night – wear retro-reflective tape on costumes and on treat buckets.
- Wear disguises that don’t obstruct vision, and avoid face masks. Instead, use non-toxic face paint. Also, watch the length of billowy costumes to help avoid tripping.
- Ensure any props are flexible and blunt-tipped to avoid injury from tripping or horseplay.
- Ask an adult or older child to supervise children under age 12.
- Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along established routes.
- Teach children to stop only at well-lit houses and to never to enter a stranger’s home or garage.
- Review trick-or-treating safety precautions, including pedestrian and traffic safety rules.
- Stay on sidewalks and avoid walking in streets if possible.
- If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
- Look both ways and listen for traffic before crossing the street.
- Cross streets only at the corner, and never cross between parked vehicles or mid-block.
- Trick-or-treat in a group if someone older cannot go with you.
- Tell your parents where you are going.
- Carry a flashlight containing fresh batteries, and place it face down in the treat bucket to free up one hand. Never shine flashlights into the eyes of oncoming drivers.
- Arrange a safe ride home and/or designate a driver before partaking in any festivities.
- Always designate a sober driver.
- If you are drunk, take a taxi or ride-hailing vehicle, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
- Walking impaired can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.
- If you know someone who is about to drive impaired, take their keys and help them make safe travel arrangements to where they are going.
About AAA Colorado
More than 695,000 members strong, AAA Colorado is the state’s greatest advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 60 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services — as well as member-exclusive savings. A not-for-profit organization since its founding in 1923, AAA Colorado has been recognized as the number one Colorado company its size for its advocacy, community engagement, and corporate social responsibility efforts – and is a proud member of Points of Light’s “The Civic 50 Colorado,” recognizing the 50 most community-minded companies in the state. For more information, visit AAA.com.