More homes in flood-prone areas of New Jersey have been elevated since Superstorm Sandy, approaching the four year anniversary this week — bringing a new concern about the safety of trick-or-treaters navigating up and down steep stairs as high as three stories.

Photo courtesy of the Walters Group

Christine O'Brien, President of the Insurance Council of New Jersey, said all homeowners should be concerned about how their properties are maintained during Halloween, with so many young pedestrians visiting.

"If your stairs don't have railings, which they probably should in order for your homeowner's (insurance policy) to actually be approved, make sure the railings are secure, and if there's a way to put up a temporary railing, you should do that as well," O'Brien said.

O'Brien explained that homeowner's insurance policies do protect against lawsuits, in the event a person falls or is injured.

"Their policy does cover them against lawsuits for people who are injured on your property, and they will cover people who are injured on your property, regardless of the time of year," O'Brien said.

For homeowners still uncomfortable about the height of the stairs, especially for children already wearing customers with limited vision, she suggested, "One way to mitigate it is to actually meet the trick-or-treaters. Leave the candy at the street level or at the base of the stairs."

Elevated homes have become the neighborhood norm in many coastal communities in New Jersey.

"From a homeowner's insurance point of view, the more clear and safe you keep your property, the better you are at fending off any potential casualties in the property," O'Brien said.

Contact reporter Dianne DeOliveira at Dianne.DeOliveira@townsquaremedia.com.

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