Slips, Trips and Falls, Oh My! Avoid Trick-or-Treating Becoming a Trip to the ER

The California Podiatric Medical Association offers Tips on Keeping Kids Safe on Their Feet This Halloween

Slips, Trips and Falls, Oh My! Avoid Trick-or-Treating Becoming a Trip to the ER

The leaves are changing, there's a crisp chill in the air and little ghosts, ghouls and goblins are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Halloween.

Halloween is a night filled with excitement and anticipation for children, a big part of which is dressing up in costume, and while fancy footwear might be just the thing that sets off a costume, it is also likely to send little ones tumbling.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that children are four times more likely to fall on Halloween than on any other night of the year. And, according to the National SAFEKIDS Campaign, the leading cause of Halloween injury to children is falls from tripping over hems of costumes, steps, curbs or unseen objects in the dark," says California Podiatric Medical Association President Rebecca A. Moellmer, DPM.

"The excitement of the day, long billowing, flowing costumes, and ill fitting footwear provide a perfect storm for children falling while trick-or-treating; falls that can result in a wide range of injuries from bruises, cuts and sprains to broken bones, concussions or worse," says Dr. Moellmer, a podiatric physician and surgeon on faculty as an Assistant Professor at the College of Podiatric Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California.

"Comfortable, well fitting footwear is a MUST for preventing slips, trips and falls while tick-or-treating. Nothing puts the brakes on an evening of trick-or-treating fun faster than a broken ankle resulting from a fall and the ensuing trip to the emergency room, and most Halloween accidents are preventable," noted Dr. Moellmer, the mother of an energetic four-year old who is eagerly looking forward to Halloween.

"Swap the ruby red costume slippers for a pair of well fitting bright red sneakers and the Frankenstein boots for a pair of hiking boots with good arch and heel support, non-skid soles and firm lacing. Be on shoelace patrol and double-knot them before going out. Shoes are also a great place to apply bright reflective tape to help trick-or-treaters be seen in the dark. Also, make sure that children's costumes stop at or above the ankle, are loose enough around the ankles to walk with ease, and are well-fitting so as not to be a potential snag and trip hazard. Don’t wait until Halloween to have children try on the costumes for the first time. Give yourself adequate time to make any necessary adjustments.

“Wearing proper, comfortable footwear during an evening of trick-or-treating will also help parents prevent their little witches and wizards from developing painful blisters and rub spots on their feet, thus turning an evening of Halloween fun into potentially days of discomfort," Dr. Moellmer concluded.

Other Safety Tips from CPMA to Help Ensure a Safe and Happy Halloween:

  • Talk with children about trick-or-treating safety BEFORE the big day, when they will be much too excited to pay attention.
  • Responsible adults should accompany young children trick-or-treating, and older children should go and stay in groups if no parent is available.
  • Don’t crisscross the road – go up one side of the street and down the other side.
  • Always look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Wear flame resistant costumes.
  • Stay away from open flames.
  • Use non-toxic face paint rather than masks, which can obstruct the field of view.
  • Carry a flashlight with fresh batteries.
  • NEVER enter homes of strangers.
  • Do not run through yards or gardens.
  • Stay away from unknown pets.
  • Make sure children know to NEVER eat goodies until parents have had a chance to inspect them.
  • Remember, not everyone celebrates Halloween, so avoid homes with lights off.
  • Set a curfew and have children wear a wrist watch, preferably with a lit face.
  • Give children a cell phone in case of emergencies.
  • Sew the child's name and contact information inside the costume.
  • Insist on good etiquette – no pushing or shoving, which also causes injuries.


Founded in 1912, the California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) is the leading and recognized professional organization for California’s doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs). DPMs are podiatric physicians and surgeons, also known as podiatrists, qualified by their long and rigorous education, training and experience to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and structures of the leg.