Halloween Safety — Homeowners, Trick-or-Treaters, and the Law

How to Prepare This Halloween

Halloween is a great time of year – costumes, hayrides, haunted houses and candy!  However, homeowners should be mindful of the legal responsibilities they owe visitors to their property.

Later this month, homeowners  will have a variety of ghosts, princesses, vampires, and angry birds trick-or-treating at their doorstep.  Halloween night poses many risks for homeowners because you are essentially opening your home and property to the public.  As you may or may not know, you owe what lawyers call a ‘duty of reasonable care’ to each child or visitor that comes onto your property.

Here are some commonsense tips to fulfill your duty of care and protect visitors to your property this year:

  1. Keep Your Property Well-Lit – Be mindful that trick-or-treaters will be cutting through all parts of your property to find your front door, so try to make sure that your front porch is adequately lit for them to easily find their destination.  By keeping the path to your home and front step well-lit, you can prevent potential slip-and-falls by trick-or-treaters wondering into other parts of your yard.  Also, those who are up to no good on Halloween are typically less likely to bother well-lit property.
  2. Keep Property Unobstructed – Keep your property unobstructed since trick-or-treaters will seek the most direct path across yards to get to the next house.  This includes such ideas as picking up yard debris, filling gopher holes, putting up hoses, and picking up toys left in the yard.
  3. Restrain Pets – Keep your pets away from the front porch, as they might get excited and jump on, knock down, or bite trick-or-treaters.
  4. Pumpkin Safety – The traditional Jack-O-Lantern presents many potential hazards.  For example, it is often very easy for a guest or child to kick the pumpkin and candle over if they’re not looking where they’re going.  This type of accident could cause a slip-and-fall or present a fire hazard.  One way that you could protect the trick-or-treaters, your family, and your home is to consider purchasing a battery-powered light for your pumpkin instead of a traditional candle.
  5. Use Your Home Security System – Halloween presents a prime opportunity for vandals and burglars to damage your property.  Thus, it is recommended that you make sure that you have a reliable home security system that can deter others from causing harm to your home.
  6. Check Homeowners Insurance – Lastly, Halloween is a good time to contact your insurance agent and discuss your policy limits, needs, and any changes or additional homeowners coverage that you might need.

Halloween is a great and fun holiday.  Just make sure to eliminate the potential risks for injury to a child by keeping your property clean and safe.

Have a fun and safe Halloween!

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