MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (10/17/2022) — The spookiest night of the year is almost here. While most are hoping for treats instead of tricks, there are important safety considerations to keep in mind before heading out for the evening. 

James Miner, MD, with the University of Minnesota Medical School talks about how people and children can be safe this Halloween.

Q: Why do we see an uptick in emergency room visits on Halloween? 

Dr. Miner: We see more visits to the emergency department on Halloween for two main reasons. First, with so many people out celebrating the holiday, it is more likely that something can go wrong, like a car accident or other injury, leading to a visit to the emergency department. Secondly, many holidays — Halloween included — can lead to more alcohol use. With increased drinking, we see a lot more emergency department visits. Halloween is one of the busiest days of the year in the emergency department along with the Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve and Saint Patrick’s Day.

Q: What are the most common Halloween-related injuries? 

Dr. Miner: The most common injuries we see on Halloween are related to alcohol consumption. Additionally, getting dressed up for Halloween can sometimes lead people to engage in more risky behavior. Putting on a costume gives people a fun chance to step outside of their normal selves. However, this can cause people to forget basic safety rules and potentially get hurt.

Q: What precautions can families with young children take while trick-or-treating?

Dr. Miner: Be especially careful driving and watch out for other drivers that may not act in the way you expect them to. Take an extra look before crossing the street and don’t anticipate that a vehicle moving toward you will stop the way it may on a typical day. It’s also important to remember that when our kids put their costumes on, they are stepping into the awesome world of pretend. Some kids may take this further than others. Pay extra attention to the fact that your child in costume may be excited and outside of their normal routine. Be sure to keep them close to prevent them from doing something risky that they normally wouldn't do.

Q:What safety considerations should people keep in mind while picking out their costume? 

Dr. Miner: Bright and reflective colors are safest for trick-or-treating, but lots of great costumes are really dark. If that’s the case, put a strip of reflective tape on the front and back of your trick-or-treater so they can be seen. Also, keep the weather in mind when choosing a costume. In Minnesota, Halloween can be mild some years and really cold other years. Pay attention to the forecast and add an extra layer underneath the costume if the weather looks cold.

Q: In general, how can people celebrate the holiday safely? 

Dr. Miner: Holidays are a great time for us to enjoy our friends, family and community. It’s important to remember that with so many people celebrating Halloween, there are lots of distracted people around. We need to pay more attention than usual to driving safely and paying attention to what others are doing. Also, remember that many traditions around holidays involve drinking. Keep track of how much alcohol you consume and remember that more social gatherings around a holiday may lead to drinking more than usual. This can lead to potentially dangerous situations if people are unaware of their surroundings.

James Miner, MD, is a professor and department head of Emergency Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Chair of Emergency Medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center. Dr. Miner conducts research in the areas of pain management, procedural sedation, altered mental status, shock and monitoring during critical care in the Emergency Department


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The University of Minnesota Medical School is at the forefront of learning and discovery, transforming medical care and educating the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and faculty produce high-impact biomedical research and advance the practice of medicine. We acknowledge that the U of M Medical School, both the Twin Cities campus and Duluth campus, is located on traditional, ancestral and contemporary lands of the Dakota and the Ojibwe, and scores of other Indigenous people, and we affirm our commitment to tribal communities and their sovereignty as we seek to improve and strengthen our relations with tribal nations. For more information about the U of M Medical School, please visit med.umn.edu