Trick or Treat or Trauma?

Halloween night revelry can land some in the emergency room.

ByABC News
October 30, 2009, 12:20 PM

Oct. 31, 2009 — -- Revelers of all kinds will be celebrating this Halloween. But mischief makers, fallen angels and all manner of witch's brews can turn the holiday into a devil's playground -- to the chagrin of local emergency departments.

"I can't tell you how many times I have seen a super hero find out he or she could not actually fly and get hurt trying!" said Dr. Richard O'Brien, attending emergency physician at Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton, Pa., and spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians.

While Halloween can be just another night for some ERs, many note an uptick of incapacitated ghouls and goblins hobbling through the doors.

Dr. Gerard Brogan, associate professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine at NYU School of Medicine, recalled one child who came to the ER bleeding after tripping and hitting his head. The child's friend thought his Frankenstein costume was terrific, not realizing the blood was real.

But going house-to-house to collect candy can pose real dangers for kids and adults, especially if they are walking at night dressed in dark costumes.

"Of primary concern is pedestrian versus auto accidents, which are an obvious danger when you mix excited children, dusk and moving vehicles," said Dr. Lara Zibners Lohr, pediatric emergency physician and author of "If Your Kid Eats This Book Everything Will Still be Okay." "Kids who are excited by the holiday may not remember to obey the rules about crossing the street and are at risk for both minor and major trauma."

Doctors advise everyone to wear something reflective, to avoid walking around at night and to wear masks and clothes that fit properly and don't obstruct vision or movement to prevent trips and falls.

While the fun of Halloween for many is the candy treats, people who prefer tricks should beware that they can come back to haunt you.

Dr. B. Bryan Jordan, associate chairman at Bridgeport Hospital in Bridgeport, Conn., recalled an outbreak of salmonella poisoning in a group of kids throwing eggs.

"They were too sick to have fun on Halloween," Jordan said.