NJ law would require reflective material on all Halloween costumes
Nighttime may be much brighter next Halloween in New Jersey, making the trick-or-treat session less dangerous for pedestrians and motorists.
A proposed law approved by a Senate committee earlier this month would require that retailers include reflective material on any Halloween costumes sold, or at least include it in the packaging. Retailers who fail to do so would be subject to a fine of up to $500 for a first offense, and up to $1,000 for each subsequent offense.
The measure, sponsored by Democrats in the Senate and Assembly, applies to any "costume, garment, article of clothing, or fashion of dress" intended for use on Halloween. Examples of reflective material, according to the bill, include reflective tape, fabric and decorative patches.
"Reflective material increases visibility in unsafe situations and helps to reduce the risk of consequential accidents due to low visibility or darkness," the bill reads.
Children are at least twice as likely to be hit and killed by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that Halloween consistently ranks among the top days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities.
Jennifer Barr, professor of business studies at Stockton University, said the cost of adding reflective material on or with a costume likely wouldn't be too significant. But she disagrees with fining the retailers for infractions, given they simply distribute a manufacturer's goods.
"My opinion — I don't think there should be laws related to this," Barr said. "I think self regulation is much better in this case than governmental regulation."
Neither Spirit Halloween nor Party City responded to a request for comment.
The bill was advanced by the Senate Commerce Committee on Nov. 14, by a vote of 3-2. It was introduced in the Assembly on the same day and referred to the Consumer Affairs committee.
If signed into law, the bill would take effect immediately.
Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.