“By the prickling of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes” (Shakespeare, Macbeth Act 4, scene 1, 44–49).
Salem, on the North Shore of Massachusetts, is the ideal place for celebrating Halloween. Throughout the North Shore more and more people are enjoying the autumn weather and Salem has become an increasingly popular destination for those wishing to celebrate the traditions of Halloween. During the month of October, the history of the Salem Witch Trials collides with the hauntingly spectacular traditions of costumes and trick or treating. There is even a lawsuit just filed in the Essex County Superior Court in Salem where a witch is suing a warlock!
Meanwhile, children and adults alike are looking forward to donning their costumes for Halloween and heading out to the neighborhoods of the North Shore for some trick or treating fun. When out and about on October 31st be sure to take precautions and keep the night safe and avoid accidents for yourself and the little goblins out there.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, car accidents involving drunk drivers and pedestrians routinely increase on Halloween. All motorists on Halloween need to be alert and drive sober, with great caution. Be on high alert for trick or treaters of all ages. Remember, trick or treaters in costume may be wearing dark clothing and can be hard to see after sundown. Drivers need to be extra careful when backing out of driveways and parking on the street; and trick or treaters should be extra aware of cars pulling out of side streets and driveways. The Salem Police Department (and it makes sense everywhere) urges parents, supervisors and trick or treaters to:
- supervise all children;
- cross the street only at corners or crosswalks;
- don’t dart out between cars; and
- make sure face masks don’t obstruct a child’s vision.
Trick or treaters and their parents or supervisors should also be aware of the increased risk of slip and fall accidents during Halloween. Make sure costumes are the right size and length as “falls are the leading cause of Halloween injuries” (Salem Police Department). As November approaches it is also important to remember that the days are getting shorter and it becomes darker earlier in the day. To help avoid slips and falls during Halloween, remind your children to walk from house to house, use sidewalks and driveways and slow down. Do not walk over the neighbor’s yards, where the ground may be uneven or where it may be hard to see objects in the dark, and avoid walking in the street. Using sidewalks when available will not only help with avoiding slips and falls but can prevent car accidents as well.
For the homeowner or apartment folk who plan to hand out candy to trick or treaters, make sure that your yard is Halloween hazard free to avoid potential accidents. Here are some tips:
- make sure your yard is well-lit;
- make sure the path to your door is clear from flower pots, electric cords, decorations and jack-o-lanterns;
- don’t leave an open flame unattended;
- keep dry leaves and cornstalks away from open flames; and
- make sure there are no cracks or cuts in electrical wires.
Halloween is an exciting time for adults and children alike. Haunted houses and Halloween decorations can be scary but car accidents and slips and falls can be even more frightening and dangerous. It’s important to be aware and to stay safe during this spooktacular holiday. If an accident happens to you or to a loved one on Halloween, contact an experienced North Shore attorney to discuss your rights.