Halloween has inherent hazards. If the sun has set and there aren't many street lights, or they haven't come on yet, it may be dark and hard to see. Kids may have masks on that impair their vision, and costumes that restrict their mobility. Ghoulish decorations may clutter yards or hang from tree limbs, waiting to trip the inattentive or bonk them on their heads.
Motorists driving through the neighborhood may not see half-pint hobgoblins darting out into the street between parked cars.
All of which is why small children should always be accompanied by adults when they go trick or treating. Stricter guardians will insist that their wards stick to the sidewalks on either side of the street, if there are any, and approach the door front of each house via the walk or driveway, rather than cutting across yards that they may be unfamiliar with.
Donna Rae of Freeburg must not have been following these basic safety rules when she went trick-or-treating in nearby Smithton two years ago.
She didn't stumble over a toy tombstone or a make-believe grave, nor was she knocked off her feet by a pendant plastic skeleton, but she did trip on the guy wire of an inflated Halloween display at the home of Michael and Kimberly Mattingly and fell and hurt herself.
Was Donna cutting across yards and not paying attention? Was she not accompanied by an adult, a parent or grandparent who might have counseled her to be more careful?
Actually, Donna was the adult. She was trick-or-treating with her two grandchildren, neither of whom had any trouble with the wire.
Now, two years later, she's suing the Mattinglys in St. Clair County Circuit Court for upwards of $50,000. Her attorney is Grey Chatham Jr. of Chatham & Baricevic in Belleville – whose law partner, C.J. Baricevic, is the former Congressional candidate (he lost) and son of former Twentieth Judicial Court Chief Judge John Baricevic (he also just lost).
With connections like that, Donna hopes to get a treat for her trip.