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Research Letter
January 2019

Pedestrian Fatalities Associated With Halloween in the United States

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 2Centre for Clinical Epidemiology & Evaluation, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 3Centre for Health Evaluation & Outcome Sciences (CHÉOS), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 4Faculty of Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 5Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 6Evaluative Clinical Sciences, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
JAMA Pediatr. 2019;173(1):101-103. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.4052

On October 31 each year, millions of children in the United States celebrate Halloween by walking door to door to collect candy from neighbors, while adults and adolescents engage in Halloween festivities. The holiday may heighten pedestrian traffic risk, because celebrations occur at dusk, masks restrict peripheral vision, costumes limit visibility, street-crossing safety is neglected, and some partygoers are impaired by alcohol.1 Mitigating factors include broad public awareness of Halloween, widespread parental supervision of younger children, and the potential for improved safety as pedestrian numbers increase. Prior studies of Halloween traffic risks have been limited to brief observations, failed to test for statistical significance, or lacked appropriate control groups.2,3 We therefore examined 4 decades of national data to systematically evaluate pedestrian fatality risks on Halloween and highlight opportunities for year-round injury prevention.