A recent study has shown Halloween on a weekday is significantly more dangerous for both children and adults than when the holiday falls on a weekend.
The study, conducted by autoinsurance.com before the coronavirus lockdown and CDC guidelines for Halloween. It looked at 24-years-worth of data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and found a clear increase in deadly Halloween traffic accidents on weekdays versus weekends.
“From 1994 to 2017, the 18 times that Halloween occurred on a weeknight, the number of fatal traffic accidents involving children jumped from 10-18,” the study said.
A Concern for Children and Adults
The data showed an increase in danger not just for children, but for all pedestrians. In the time frame examined, car crashes severely injuring or killing one or more pedestrians increased by 55% when Halloween fell on a weekday.
Fridays were found to be the overall most deadly day of the week for Halloween.
“Since 1994, every time Halloween occurred on a Friday, there was a 36% increase in fatal traffic accidents on average,” the study said. Three of the top five deadliest Halloweens since 1994 occurred on Fridays. Thirty children died in car crashes in 2003, 20 in 2008, and 19 in 2014. The study goes on to point out that Friday Halloweens tend to result in dangerous weekends, with up to an 86% increase in fatal car crashes for the Saturday following the holiday.
Should Halloween Always Be on Saturday?
For 2020, Halloween is on a Saturday, and experts believe it will be a slow year for trick-or-treating due to coronavirus concerns.
However, autoinsurance.com has endorsed a movement to permanently switch Halloween to the last Saturday in October. The study links directly to a 2018 petition created by The Halloween & Costume Association calling for the move. The petition has since switched focus to implementing a “National Trick or Treat Day,” separate from Halloween, on the last Saturday of every October. With a goal of 200,000 signatures, the petition is currently at 153,664.
Halloween on Saturday would result in a safer holiday weekend overall, the study finds. “When Halloween fell on a Friday, the average fatal crash increase for Halloween and the day after was 52 percent,” the study said. “While Saturday Halloweens and the day after had an average of 27%.”
Halloween falls on a Thursday this year. As such, parents should take extra care in ensuring the safety of their little ones. The study passed along some Halloween safety tips provided by CBS Miami. These include putting reflectors on costumes, using flashlights or glow sticks, avoiding masks that obstruct vision, and looking both ways before crossing the street.
While a permanent Saturday Halloween might not be a reality quite yet, parents can follow safety tips to ensure their child has a fun and safe Halloween night.