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The old Celts celebrated their new year on November 1, ushering winter — with its increased risk of death — in at the same time. The night before, they believed, the worlds of the living and the dead melted together, the souls of the dead returning, both wreaking havoc and helping priests foretell the future. On that night, the night of October 31, they'd don costumes and light bonfires to chase off ghosts and then perform rituals hoping to stay safe through the winter.
Halloween has evolved a bit since then! The Samhain the Celts celebrated was taken over first by a Roman, and then a Christian holiday. While old habits die hard and the new holidays blended with the old, the Halloween most people know today isn't a religious, but a secular holiday — for most devoid of any kind of symbolism, and instead filled with family fun.
You've heard of poison-laced and razor-harboring Halloween candies hiding in your unsuspecting trick or treater's stash. (Yep, that's an urban myth.) You've heard of the death-cry producing "I ate my kid's Halloween candy" videos parents seemingly possessed by Jimmy Kimmel keep putting up. (Some people might even call it abusive parenting.)
You might know that over 10,000 fires are reported in the US during the three days around Halloween, causing something to the tune of 125 injuries and 25 deaths, as well as a whopping $83 million in lost properties. (That's more than during other fall days, to be sure, but not much more.)
You might know that pumpkin carving is one of the reasons kids end up in the ER over Halloween, and that not all novelty contact lenses that seem to perfectly complement your cute costume meet safety standards.
Indeed, with all the Halloween safety articles rightfully circulating around the web around this time of year, you are quite probably aware that tea lights and highly flammable synthetic materials, of the kind many Halloween costumes are made out of, are not a good combination.
You may also be concerned about your kids eating too much sugar on Halloween, fueling the obesity epidemic, and about the people opening the door to your trick or treaters turning out to be child abductors.
It is cars that are most likely to pose the biggest danger to your kids on Halloween! Research spanning over two decades revealed that fatal car accidents involving child pedestrians more than double on October 31, making this spooky holiday the deadliest time of year to be a young pedestrian.
What do parents need to know to keep their kids safe from car accidents on Halloween? The answer may surprise you.