Halloween Emergency Room Trips

halloween and ER trips, ER trips on halloween

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There will be ghoulish fun tonight, but there will also be a few ghoulish trips to the Emergency Room.  In fact, ER trips spike on Halloween night.  We’ve rounded up the likely culprits.

Choking on Candy

Nearly 30% of all choking incidents in children comes from candy.  15% is from hard candy and 12.8% is from all other candies combined.  Since kids don’t usually have that much access to candy, encourage them to gobble more slowly.

Pedestrian Accidents

Halloween is considered the “deadliest day for child pedestrian accidents,” according to a State Farm study that looked at data from 1990 through 2010.  On an average day the rate for fatalities is 2.6 for children between the ages of 0 and 18, but on Halloween it more than doubles to 5.5.  In addition, the deadliest hour is right when dusk settles between 6 pm and 7 pm.   Make sure your child is carrying a light, or a glow stick so that drivers can see them easily and let them know how important it is to stay on the sidewalk.

Eye injuries

There is an uptick in eye injuries every Halloween, especially with vanity contact lenses used for Halloween costumes.  These lenses aren’t fitted properly, are usually thicker than prescription lenses, and have paint on them.  The result could be a corneal abrasion.

In addition, costumes often have objects protruding from them, or the little ones might be carrying wands and sticks which can cause injuries.


Often the heavy novelty makeup found in paint-face kits aren’t high in quality and can cause rashes.   There have even been recalls of Halloween makeup kits (in 2001 and 2009) for causing problems.

Also look out for latex masks and even the fabric in cheaply made Halloween costumes which could cause reactions for the wearer.

Yes, Halloween is a lot of fun, but there are definitely a few pitfalls to avoid.  As a physician have you had to treat a patient for Halloween related problems?  Please share your stories below, or join the conversation inside Sermo.


  1. Cindy Austin says

    This was the first year my kids really got to do Halloween things so I was a bit on edge. I read so many of these posts like this one and they helped, really keyed me in on what to look for! I have a excellent book to that I keep with me always, Keeping Your Kids Out of the Emergency Room by Chris Johnson MD. It’s a practical read when it comes to things that may warrant an ER visit, and when they don’t. That helped tremendously when I was making sure I could notice symptoms of the kids being sick from candy intake, or really sick! Always good to have a reference!

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