Halloween will soon be here and so will little trick-or-treaters on your doorstep. No one wants to think the unthinkable, but accidents do occur on Halloween and if someone hurts themselves on your property, you could be held liable.
Today, you’ll find Halloween decorations inside and outside the house and many people go to great lengths to create a spooky experience. Here are a few Halloween safety tips to keep everyone safe and the evening a spirited success.
Reduce Tripping Risk
Ensure there’s plenty of light on the walkway and the porch so ghosts and goblins can manage them safely. If you have giant inflatable pumpkins or a grisly witch who cackles when someone approaches, ensure you’ve tucked the extension cord away so it’s not a tripping hazard and anchor the inflatable by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Children are very curious and they may want to see the spectacle up close.
If your yard has exposed tree roots, landscaping boulders, or low-level shrubs, consider marking them off with “Do Not Cross” tape. It will look like a crime scene and keep children out of danger.
Fire Safety First
Many Halloween decorations use low-voltage LED bulbs, but not all. If you use the same decorations year after year, be especially careful about fire risk. Many old decorations use bulbs that get very hot, and if you add a few cobwebs near them they can easily catch fire.
Don’t overload extension cords or electrical outlets either. When decorations draw too much power from one source, they can melt the cord or outlet and start a fire. You should avoid daisy chaining extension cords, too.
Don’t use lit candles when you decorate, either. You can buy battery-operated candles with LED bulbs, which will greatly reduce the risk of fire. In addition, don’t drape fabrics over light bulbs. Even low-voltage bulbs generate heat and can start a fire.
Always ensure Halloween decorations display a label indicating they’re thoroughly tested for safety. The Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Electrical Testing Laboratories (ETL), European Commission (CE); or Canadian Standards Association (CSA) all adhere to strict standards.
Test your smoke alarms and avoid highly-flammable materials when decorating. Crepe paper, cornstalks, and dry hay ignite easily.
Confine Your Pets
Even a well-trained pet can become excited with all the comings and goings on Halloween night. Strange smells and sounds and the doorbell ringing can cause your cat or dog to dart out the door. Separate your pet from the action so they stay safe during the festivities.
Manage Party Risk
Many people choose to host Halloween parties in their home so their children remain safely at home. However, whenever you open your home to others, there’s always risk. If anyone’s injured on your property you might find yourself amidst a lawsuit or insurance claim.
Don’t advertise your monster mash on social media or around the neighborhood. Otherwise, criminals can show up uninvited or target the attendees when they leave your event.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
Most people do not realize that if they charge a fee for a party or haunted house, their insurance company may consider it a business activity. If so, they aren’t covered under their homeowners’ insurance policy.
Talk to your insurance agent and ensure you’re properly covered. Many times an umbrella policy offers the additional protection you need at a very reasonable price so you can enjoy the festivities and reduce your risk.