[Study] How Safe is Halloween for Pedestrians in Chicago?

Firm News | October 1, 2020

New study: pedestrian accident zones on Halloween in Chicago

Halloween can be a scary time to be a pedestrian, especially in a busy city. For many parents, there is a fine line between Halloween fun and safety concerns. 

At Seidman, Margulis & Fairman & Fairman, LLP, we are concerned about pedestrian safety in our community. We wanted to better understand where pedestrian accidents happen in Chicago. So, we worked with the data visualization and consumer safety advocacy team, 1Point21 Interactive, to analyze three years of pedestrian-involved accident data on Halloween.

For the purpose of this analysis, we defined the Halloween period to begin at 12:00 am on Halloween morning to 12:00 am the following day. 

[Interactive Map] Pedestrian Accidents on Halloween in Chicago (2017-2019)

This map is interactive. Click and drag the map to zoom in and out. The size of the points is based on the weather conditions outside when each collision occurred, and the color represents the lighting condition at the time of the accident.

 

From 2017 – 2019, there were 43 collisions involving 47 pedestrians on Halloween in Chicago – an average of a little over 14 crashes per year on the holiday.

Pedestrian Involved Accidents in October 2017-2019

Halloween Pedestrian Crashes in Chicago

While this represents a 38 percent increase in pedestrian crashes on Halloween when compared to a typical day in October, the actual increase in pedestrian risk is likely very small – especially for children.  

In fact, we found that Halloween may be safer for young children. Six children under the age of 18 were struck by vehicles and only two under the age of ten. Children aged ten and under made up four percent of pedestrians struck on Halloween while representing six percent of victims for all of October.  

Children under the age of ten are less likely to be struck by motor vehicles on Halloween than they are during a typical October day in Chicago. 

Whether this is due to drivers paying more attention, parents being vigilant about safety or a combination of factors is unclear.

However, the majority of the pedestrians struck were not wearing reflective or contrasting clothing. If you are taking your little ones out this year, we strongly encourage you to have every member of your household wear contrasting reflective material. Reflective and bright clothing is a crucial element of pedestrian safety. When drivers have a hard time seeing you, it places you at a far greater risk for an injury

Quick Analysis

  • From 2017 – 2019, 47 pedestrians were struck by motor vehicles on Halloween in Chicago.
  • 10 pedestrians suffered serious injuries while 22 suffered minor or moderate injuries.
  • There were ZERO fatalities
  • Six children under the age of 18 were struck and only 2 were under the age of 10
  • Nearly half of all pedestrian incidents occurred at a crosswalk.
  • The leading cause of collisions was drivers failing to yield the right-of-way.
  • Of the pedestrians struck, 87 percent (41)  were not wearing any kind of contrasting clothing, reflective material, or a light source.
  • A majority of the accidents occurred during the day, and when weather conditions were clear.
  • Half of all pedestrian-related collisions on Halloween in the last three years occurred when the road conditions were dry.

Every Pedestrian Struck on Halloween Between 2017-2019

From 2017-2019, there were 43 collisions and a total of 47 pedestrians struck on Halloween in Chicago. The following table analyzes every pedestrian accident on Halloween between 2017 and 2019. 

Age Sex Time Year Injury Type Pedestrian Action Injury Type
5 M 6:47 PM 2018 Reported, Not Evident Unknown/Na No Contrasting Clothing
9 M 6:10 PM 2018 Incapacitating Injury Other Action No Contrasting Clothing
12 M 1:00 PM 2018 Nonincapacitating Injury Crossing – Against Signal Contrasting Clothing
15 M 7:00 AM 2019 Nonincapacitating Injury Crossing – With Signal No Contrasting Clothing
16 M 7:30 PM 2017 Incapacitating Injury Enter From Drive/Alley Reflective Material
17 F 6:20 PM 2019 Reported, Not Evident Unknown/Na No Contrasting Clothing
20 M 11:23 PM 2017 Nonincapacitating Injury With Traffic No Contrasting Clothing
22 F 7:30 AM 2019 Reported, Not Evident Unknown/Na No Contrasting Clothing
23 F 2:02 PM 2017 Nonincapacitating Injury Crossing – With Signal No Contrasting Clothing
24 M 8:20 AM 2018 Nonincapacitating Injury Crossing – With Signal No Contrasting Clothing
25 M 11:03 PM 2019 Nonincapacitating Injury Crossing – With Signal No Contrasting Clothing
26 F 7:26 AM 2019 Reported, Not Evident Crossing – With Signal No Contrasting Clothing
26 F 4:00 PM 2019 Reported, Not Evident With Traffic No Contrasting Clothing
26 F 4:30 PM 2019 Nonincapacitating Injury Crossing – With Signal Contrasting Clothing
27 F 5:00 PM 2017 Nonincapacitating Injury Not At Intersection No Contrasting Clothing
27 M 7:00 PM 2017 Incapacitating Injury Parked Vehicle No Contrasting Clothing
27 F 12:30 PM 2019 No Indication Of Injury Crossing – With Signal No Contrasting Clothing
27 M 3:04 PM 2019 Reported, Not Evident Playing In Roadway No Contrasting Clothing
28 F 9:52 PM 2017 Nonincapacitating Injury Unknown/Na Contrasting Clothing
28 F 8:42 AM 2019 Reported, Not Evident With Traffic No Contrasting Clothing
30 F 6:45 AM 2019 Nonincapacitating Injury Crossing – With Signal No Contrasting Clothing
31 M 3:15 PM 2017 Nonincapacitating Injury Parked Vehicle No Contrasting Clothing
35 M 1:40 AM 2017 Reported, Not Evident Crossing – With Signal No Contrasting Clothing
37 F 1:40 AM 2017 Reported, Not Evident Crossing – With Signal No Contrasting Clothing
37 F 7:20 AM 2018 Nonincapacitating Injury Unknown/Na No Contrasting Clothing
37 F 8:40 AM 2019 Nonincapacitating Injury Crossing – Controls Present (Not At Intersection) No Contrasting Clothing
37 M 1:01 PM 2019 Reported, Not Evident Other Action No Contrasting Clothing
38 M 11:45 PM 2018 Reported, Not Evident Other Action No Contrasting Clothing
39 F 7:40 PM 2018 Nonincapacitating Injury Unknown/Na No Contrasting Clothing
39 M 10:40 PM 2019 Reported, Not Evident Standing In Roadway No Contrasting Clothing
43 F 7:10 AM 2019 Nonincapacitating Injury Crossing – No Controls (At Intersection) Contrasting Clothing
43 M 12:13 PM 2019 Nonincapacitating Injury Crossing – With Signal No Contrasting Clothing
47 F 6:30 AM 2017 Nonincapacitating Injury With Traffic No Contrasting Clothing
50 F 8:24 PM 2019 Incapacitating Injury Crossing – With Signal No Contrasting Clothing
53 M 1:52 PM 2019 Nonincapacitating Injury Crossing – Against Signal No Contrasting Clothing
56 M 5:27 PM 2017 Nonincapacitating Injury Not At Intersection No Contrasting Clothing
68 M 11:53 AM 2019 Reported, Not Evident Enter From Drive/Alley No Contrasting Clothing
73 F 9:20 AM 2018 Nonincapacitating Injury Parked Vehicle No Contrasting Clothing
73 F 5:02 PM 2018 Incapacitating Injury Crossing – With Signal No Contrasting Clothing
82 M 2:15 PM 2018 Incapacitating Injury Other Action No Contrasting Clothing
82 M 3:02 PM 2019 Nonincapacitating Injury Against Traffic No Contrasting Clothing
86 F 2:38 PM 2018 Nonincapacitating Injury Not At Intersection Other Light Source Used

How To Stay Safe This Halloween Weekend

If you are planning on venturing out, keep these safety tips in mind and make sure you and your family follow all government guidelines.  

  • Wear bright reflective clothing: add reflective tape or neon lights, such as glow sticks, to your childs trick-or-treat bags to increase visibility. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes: wearing costumes that fit well can prevent tripping or entanglement.
  • Follow the rules of the road: follow all traffic signals and signs. Given the leading cause of pedestrian accidents on Halloween are drivers failing to yield, never assume you have the right-of-way. Avoid crossing the street between cars or out of driveways.
  • Be extra vigilant at crosswalks.
  • Always accompany young children: if your older children plan to trick-or-treat on their own, plan and review a route that is acceptable. 
  • Stay in well-lit areas: find a local community that is well lit and family-friendly.

Neighborhood Trick-or-Treating

  1. As an alternative to door-to-door trick-or-treating, anyone who would like to distribute treats should leave individually wrapped candy or treats on a table, on their front walkways, sidewalks, or any outdoor space that allows for at least 6 feet of social distance from the door. The individually wrapped candy should be spread out so each piece is not touching another. Anyone distributing candy or treats should wash their hands properly for at least 20 seconds before placing the candy on the table and when replenishing.
  2. All individuals participating in trick-or-treating, including those passing out candy, should maintain social distance of at least 6 feet and wear proper face coverings. A costume mask, such as those worn for Halloween, is not a substitute for a face covering. If face coverings are worn under costume masks, please ensure this does not create breathing problems, and if so, discard the costume mask.
  3. Only household members should trick-or-treat together, and they should maintain 6-feet social distance from other trick-or-treaters at all times. Mixed household trick-or-treaters are discouraged.
  4. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be carried and used frequently.
  5. Candy collected during trick-or-treating should not be consumed until after handwashing. As always, a parent/guardian should check all candy to make sure it is wrapped and should discard unwrapped candy.
  6. And, of course, practice good dental hygiene as well.
  7. Outdoor areas are preferred for trick-or-treating. Enclosed indoor areas, like apartment buildings, present a greater risk of transmission. Open doors and windows as appropriate to promote increased ventilation.

Alternatives to Trick-or-Treating

Trunk or treat events are considered a higher risk activity and are discouraged. An alternative activity involves trick-or-treating in a large parking lot or other outdoor setting with adherence to social distancing. Tables are pre-set up with participants allowed to parade with a parent/guardian while maintaining at least 6-feet social distancing and wearing proper face coverings at all times. A limited number of people should staff the event, keeping tables replenished, and monitoring social distancing. Proper handwashing should be performed before candy is consumed.

  1. Recruit a set number of table sponsors.
  2. Create a timed entry schedule to figure out what the attendance limit will be.
  3. Create a map of where tables will be with plenty of space between.
  4. Advertise with information about reserved time slots, social distancing, and mask-wearing.
  5. Package candies or favors in treat bags for easy distribution.
  6. Create signage to direct the flow of foot traffic.
  7. Draw markers on the ground to indicate 6 feet for social distancing.
  8. Mask up and enjoy!

Other Halloween Activities and Events

Haunted Houses, Forests, or Walks

  • Halloween haunted houses are currently not allowed in Restore Illinois Phase 4 Guidelines. Instead consider open-air, one-way haunted forests or haunted walks where social distancing of 6 feet or greater and appropriate masking is enforced.  If screaming is anticipated, even greater social distancing is advised to lower the risk of spreading respiratory viruses.

Pumpkin Patches, Orchard Visits, and Hayrides

  • Visitors to these locations should use hand sanitizer before handling the produce.  Cloth face coverings and social distancing should be enforced.
  • Hayrides should not exceed 50% capacity with parties spaced at least six feet apart. The best practice is for hayrides to be limited to members of the same household. Participants should wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered at all times when around people who don’t live in your household.

Fall Festival Events

Social Gatherings, Costume Parties in Adult Settings, Halloween Parties at Bars

  • Large gatherings with more people are considered higher risk than smaller group gatherings, and must adhere to event size limitations
  • Indoor parties or gatherings with attendees who are not adhering to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), wearing masks, handwashing, or otherwise participating in prevention behaviors will result in a higher risk for transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 illness. These types of gatherings are strongly discouraged.
  • Use of alcohol or drugs can impair judgement and result in increased risky behaviors.
  • Gathering with groups of people who routinely do not adhere to prevention measures or those who travel from areas with increased community transmission will increase the risk for others at the party or gathering.
  • The more time you spend at a gathering, the closer the contact, the more people, the higher your risk of exposure to COVID-19.
  • For more information, refer to IDPH’s Small Social Gathering Safety Tips

If you are notified that you were a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19

Stay safe this Halloween!