Published 10/16/2018

Avoid spooky injuries this Halloween

ROSEMONT, Ill. (October 16, 2018)–Halloween is quickly approaching. As trick-or-treaters plan their candy routes, and jack-o’-lanterns appear on porches in neighborhoods across the country, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons wants to ensure people are prepared with safety tips to get them through the day injury free.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2017, 16,706 patients were treated for Halloween-related injuries in emergency departments, doctors’ offices and clinics–3,158 patients for pumpkin-carving injuries alone.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) encourages adults and children to follow these safety tips to reduce their risk of injury this October.
“Pumpkin carving is a fun activity, but it can result in serious cuts on the hand and injuries to bones and tendons,” said AAOS spokesperson and pediatric orthopaedic surgeon L. Reid Boyce Nichols, MD. “Consider having children decorate pre-carved pumpkins with stickers and paint to avoid using sharp objects. This will allow children to join in the fun while eliminating the use of sharp objects and their risk of injury.”
If deciding to carve pumpkins this year, the AAOS recommends the following Halloween safety tips this season:

  • Use a pumpkin carving kit or knives specifically designed for carving. These are less likely to get stuck in thick pumpkin skin. Some Halloween carving devices, designed especially for older children, may be safe for use with parental supervision.
  • Carve pumpkins in a clean, dry and well-lit area, and make sure there is no moisture on the carving tools or your hands.
  • If you are cut, apply pressure with a clean cloth and elevate the injured area above the heart. If bleeding does not stop within 10-15 minutes or if the cut is deep, you may need to contact your doctor. Make sure cuts are cleaned and covered with clean bandages.
  • Avoid candles in Halloween pumpkins and other decorations. Instead, use non-flammable light sources, like glow sticks or artificial pumpkin lights.

“Pumpkin carving isn’t the only potential danger relating to this holiday,” states Dr. Nichols. “Trick-or-treating can be dangerous if caution is not taken when near traffic and other distractions. While you walk, look up, not down and pay attention to the people, objects and obstacles around you. Distracted walking can easily be avoided.”

The AAOS encourages the following trick-or-treating safety tips:

  • Walk on sidewalks and never cut across yards or driveways. Obey all traffic signals and stay in crosswalks when crossing the street.
  • Wear bright-colored costumes to make it easier for children to be seen at dusk or in the dark. Add reflective tape to costumes and treat bags to provide additional visibility.

  • Wear costumes that are flame-resistant and fit properly. The child’s vision should not be obstructed by masks, face paint or hats. Costumes that are too long may cause kids to trip and fall, so trim or hem them as necessary.
  • Wear sturdy, comfortable, slip-resistant shoes to avoid falls.
  • Trick-or-treaters should only approach houses that are well-lit.
  • Carry flashlights to see and be seen. Do not point your flashlight above the chest level to avoid blocking the vision of other trick-or-treaters.
  • Be aware of neighborhood dogs when trick-or-treating, and remember that pets can be a threat when you approach their homes.
  • Carry a cell phone while trick-or-treating.
  • Children should always be supervised by an adult.

For more Halloween-safety tips visit,

More Information about the AAOS
With more than 38,000 members, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is the world’s largest medical association of musculoskeletal specialists. The AAOS provides educational programs for orthopaedic surgeons and allied health professionals, champions and advances the highest quality musculoskeletal care for patients, and is the authoritative source of information on bone and joint conditions, treatments and related issues. 

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