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Ghoulish Garb Should Be a Reflection of Safety This Halloween

New York, Oct 30, 2003

Children and adults alike can stand out in the crowd this Halloween with an easy, do-it-yourself trick. For “high visibility,” adding a reflective strip to a Dracula disguise, or suiting up in a pair of reflective sneakers, gives extra kick to a costume. Not only will reflective gear add “glowing” appeal to everyone’s Halloween garb, it also helps to ensure safety.

Reflective materials incorporated into clothing send light from car headlights back to the driver, alerting him/her that there is someone in or near the road. Standards for high visibility safety apparel are generally developed for workers that are exposed to hazardous traffic conditions, but these materials have many other useful applications. Two American National Standards Institute (ANSI) members, the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), have established performance criteria for high-visibility safety apparel.

The ANSI/ISEA 107 standard establishes three different garment categories, known as conspicuity classes, for different conditions based on worker hazards and tasks, complexity of the work environment or background, and vehicular traffic and speed. ASTM E1501-99e1, Standard Specification for Nighttime Photometric Performance of Retroreflective Pedestrian Markings for Visibility Enhancement, covers the performance of retroreflective markings that can be used by pedestrians to increase their conspicuity. Objects include but are not limited to jackets, shirts, vests, trousers, socks, backpacks, hats, and footwear.

Reflective materials can be incorporated into many different fashions from vests and coveralls to pants, jackets, shoes and other accessories, all providing a different level of protection and visibility. Very few manufacturers incorporate reflective materials into their Halloween costumes, however, because these items are considered temporary and/or disposable, and it is costly to make them reflective. It is up to the consumer to add reflective gear to his/her costume, and keep nighttime Halloween activities safe.

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