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Avoid Halloween Frights
Most of the scary parts of Halloween are make-believe, with ghosts and princesses and pirates roaming the streets. But there are some things than can be actually frightening. You should take steps to reduce the risk of injury for revelers young and old – and the risk of liability for yourself.
If you are not home on Halloween or don’t want to hand out candy, turn your outside lights off. Usually the law considers that you have invited trick-or-treaters onto your porch if you have your porch light on or otherwise indicate that you are willing to receive their visits; therefore, you could be held liable if a trick-or-treater is injured on your property.
If you are home and participating, make your property safe for kids. Remove tripping hazards such as bikes, rakes, toys, etc. Have enough light so that people can see where they are going. Remember that children wearing masks and costumes might not be able to see or move as well as usual.
If you have a dog, consider locking the dog in an inside room of your house. Some children are afraid of dogs and might be frightened if your dog follows you to the door, even if your pet is generally friendly. And your pet might be agitated or frightened by the strange sights and sounds and might jump up on a child or even react aggressively. Your dog also could bolt when you open the door to hand out Halloween candy.
Never put a real candle in a jack-o-lantern, especially if it is outside. Long, flowing costumes could brush against the candle and catch fire. Similarly, don’t use dry ice or other fog- or smoke-creating methods. Some can actually cause injury, and all can make visibility difficult.
Also remember that Halloween is not just for kids anymore. Increasingly, teens and even adults are celebrating with costume parties. If your kids are hosting a party at your house, be prepared to keep an eye on things. The greatest potential liability could come from party-goers drinking alcohol at your house. If your kids’ friends get drunk and later cause damage to property or people, you could be held liable – whether you knew they were drinking or not.
That is true also if you are hosting your own party for adults. Make sure that you have plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages available. And if you think someone has had too much to drink, don’t let that person drive.
In general, it is a good idea to periodically review the liability limits of your insurance coverage to make sure they are adequate. We would be happy to discuss this or any other insurance or wealth management question. You can contact us at 847-572-0820 or email@example.com.