It may come as no surprise that Halloween is one of the top three holidays when an emergency room visit is made, but some of the risks may not be the ones you’d guess.

Of course, pumpkin carving is a unique danger this time of the year, not only for children, but for adults attempting to do so while under the influence of alcohol or other substances. In fact, about a third of all finger and hand injuries reported on this day are lacerations, and children aged 10-14 are at the greatest risk.

When carving pumpkins, use a pumpkin carving kit or tools designed specifically for carving, and don’t let children carve pumpkins unless supervised closely by an adult. Make sure that the pumpkin, tools and your hands are all dry in order to help prevent slips. Young children should use paint, markers or other decorating kits.

Other injuries that are frequently seen are hand fractures resulting from altercations where alcohol and large crowds of party-goers mix. The boxer’s fracture, as it is known, is a break or crack in the long bone that attaches to the pinky finger. An additional risk in these situations are fight bite injuries. These occur when a fist connects with a tooth causing damage to the hand, and sometimes infection from oral bacteria.

Falls from long costumes and impaired vision from wearing masks often result in fractures to hands, arms, legs and feet. Trimming or hemming costumes and avoiding any mask which obscures vision can help prevent these falls. Try to choose sturdy, comfortable, slip-resistant footwear. When trick-or-treating, stay on sidewalks rather than cutting through yards and carry a flashlight, both to see and to be seen.

Although there are many frights you might enjoy on Halloween, an injury probably isn’t one of them. Avoiding excessive alcohol and exercising a few precautions can make this holiday a fun and safe one. Carry a cell phone in case of an emergency, and if you experience pain from an injury, consult with an orthopedic doctor who can help you restore mobility and reduce the pain.

If you would like more information about safety and health, or are experiencing pain from an injury, please call or visit us at Spine & Orthopedic Center.