New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that Halloween is a go this year in the state. With that said, Halloween 2020 is certainly going to look a bit different amid the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. At a recent coronavirus press conference, Murphy made several recommendations to help the public stay safe, have fun, and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Also, it is especially important for drivers to be aware of children out trick-or-treating after dark. It is a grim reality that on Halloween, twice the number of children is killed while walking around than any other day of the year. Many of these unfortunate incidents can be avoided with the proper precautions. If an accident involving a vehicle does occur, an experienced car accident lawyer can provide assistance to the victim and family.
Safety Measures to Protect Against COVID-19 This Halloween
Spread out treats. Among the governor’s guidance to keep children safe this Halloween and prevent the spread of COVID-19, he advised households offering treats to arrange them in a way to cut down on children touching multiple pieces of candy. It is important to take away the big, communal candy bowl this year and consider providing wrapped treats on a tray, allowing visitors to choose their own. This reduces hand-to-hand contact and eliminates the need to dig through an assortment of treats to find the perfect candy. Everyone should wash hands frequently, and trick-or-treaters should carry hand sanitizer on their walk.
Mask up as usual. Governor Murphy reminded New Jersey residents that Halloween masks are not designed and should not be used to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He asks anyone celebrating Halloween to wear a proper face covering as required in all community spaces.
Cloth face coverings that securely cover the nose and mouth help contain respiratory droplets through which the virus is transmitted. For detailed information about how to choose, wear, and clean face masks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides guidelines.
Use caution for gatherings. Guidance for Halloween gatherings align with the governor’s directives on group meetings every other day of the year. He asks that holiday festivities be held outdoors, with participants practicing social distancing. His order on gathering limits still stands at 25 percent of an area’s capacity indoors. That is approximately 25 people indoors and 500 people outside.
It is preferred that trick-or treating groups include only family or household members. Anyone outside the home or family should socially distance while trick-or-treating. Groups should stay close to home and visit fewer homes than usual this year.
If a family believes that forgoing trick-or-treating is the best choice this year, they should have no fear. There are plenty of ways to celebrate Halloween without going door to door. Carving pumpkins, spooky movie nights, foods, and crafts are simple ways to enjoy the Halloween spirit in the comfort of a family’s own home.
More Halloween Safety Tips
Everyone celebrating Halloween this year must take extra precautions to protect against COVID-19. There are a few more ways to ensure every Halloween is festive and safe long after the threat of the virus has passed.
Costumes. For many children, and adults as well, the best part of Halloween is dressing up. Parents can help children choose costumes that are easy to maneuver and do not have long elements that drag on the ground and pose a tripping hazard. Children can add reflective stickers and glow elements to darker costumes to ensure they are visible to drivers. Halloween costumes and accessories should always be constructed of fire-resistant materials. As the governor mentioned when discussing Halloween, costume masks should be worn over COVID-19 face coverings, not instead of them. Before children venture out to pick up treats, parents should make sure the children can breathe well through both face coverings.
Candy and snacks. Children should wait to consume candy until they have been carefully inspected by a trusted adult. Any open, unwrapped, or possibly tampered-with snacks should be thrown away. Children with allergies should enlist a parent or another adult to read ingredient labels to ensure snacks are safe. Young children should pass on gum, popcorn, peanuts, and small candies that can be a choking hazard.
Trick-or-treating. Children’s Halloween adventures are more likely to stay closer to home this year, per the governor’s guidance. As always, children should visit only the homes of neighbors they know and stick to familiar streets and routes. They should check in with parents on a regular basis. No child should every trick-or-treat alone, and younger children should be accompanied by a teen or adult. Trick-or-treaters who are not from the same social bubble should walk in the same group while keeping a safe space between each person.
Walking safety on Halloween. Between groups of pedestrians, Halloween decorations, and increased motor vehicle traffic, there are plenty of hazards for trick-or-treaters to navigate as they walk around the neighborhood. The following are additional safety tips to make it a safe night:
- Carry a flashlight to light the way and avoid fall hazards.
- Stick to familiar, well-lit streets.
- Never enter a stranger’s home or vehicle.
- Use crosswalks and sidewalks.
- Look in all directions before crossing the street.
- Be alert for cars backing out or turning around.
- Do not walk between parked cars.
- Stay alert; avoid walking and texting.
Driver safety on Halloween. Drivers traveling should be especially alert for pedestrians on October 31. To prevent tragic motor vehicle accidents this year, drivers should follow these guidelines:
- Put down the phone and pay attention.
- Reduce speeds in areas with trick-or-treaters.
- Pay attention for people emerging between cars and crossing mid-block.
- Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Enter and exit parking lots, driveways, and turns with added caution.
- Discourage novice drivers from getting behind the wheel on Halloween.
Drunk Driving Increases on Halloween
COVID-19 is not the only danger for which families need to be aware this Halloween. According to federal traffic accident data, nearly half of all fatal motor vehicle accidents occurring on Halloween involve an alcohol-impaired driver. In the four-year span between 2008 and 2012, approximately 166 people were killed in drunk driving car accidents on Halloween. To combat catastrophic holiday crashes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds drivers that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. Alcohol impairs the body in the following ways:
- Slows reflexes and reaction time
- Alters eye movement and function
- Decreases attention and alertness
- Impairs hand/eye/foot coordination
- Reduces the ability to track distance from other cars, signs, signals, and pedestrians
Anyone whose Halloween festivities involve alcohol has a responsibility to avoid getting behind the wheel. They should hand over the keys and stay put until sobering up, ask a sober friend for a ride, or call a rideshare service to get home safely.
Halloween Car Accident Claims
Although the nation and the world remain hopeful the risk of COVID-19 can soon be eliminated, the usual Halloween hazards will remain from year to year. Car accidents are more likely to occur whenever foot traffic increases in communities across the United States. Injuries sustained in an accident involving a motor vehicle can be devastating physically and financially. For a child especially, a collision with a vehicle can be especially traumatic, causing anxiety, sleep troubles, and flashbacks.
Any individual who has been hurt by a reckless driver has the right to file a claim and hold the negligent party liable for their actions. When successful, accident victims can recover compensation for the various costs associated with an injury, which include emergency room visits, surgery, medications, and physical therapy.
An injured adult who cannot work temporarily or permanently because of a debilitating injury can seek compensation to replace a portion of that lost income. In some cases, damages are also awarded to compensate a person for their emotional pain and suffering. A free, initial consultation is the first step to a car accident settlement or lawsuit.
Celebrating Halloween while protecting against COVID-19 will undoubtedly be challenging, but it can be done safely. By following the guidance provided by the Department of Health and Governor Murphy and practicing common sense safety tips, every trick-or treater can have a fun and memorable Halloween this year.
Freehold Car Accident Lawyers at Ellis Law Provide Exceptional Legal Representation for Injured Clients in New Jersey
Halloween is supposed to be a carefree holiday for children of every age to enjoy. Yet, the unfortunate reality is that pedestrian injuries from car accidents are twice as likely to happen on Halloween. The Freehold car accident lawyers at Ellis Law advocate for clients who are injured by careless or reckless drivers in New Jersey. To learn more about how the legal system can help you and your family recover financial compensation for your physical pain, medical bills, and lost income, call us at 732-308-0200 or contact us online for a consultation.
Located in Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York, New York.