Trick-or-treaters will soon be taking to the streets, expecting a fun filled day or night with family, friends, and of course candy. Unfortunately, all of this fun can come at a cost if homeowners don’t take the right precautions to keep visiting trick-or-treaters safe. This post is designed to point out liability exposures that Halloween can present to homeowners.
(Child safety is of course number one, so reference this Reader’s Digest article on how to keep your trick-or-treater safe: 7 Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips. )
- Trips and Falls: Speed and efficiency are two important qualities in a dedicated trick-or-treater. Kids are often focused on how quickly they can get from house to house. To avoid any trips and falls on your property, check the path (that you hope) trick-or-treaters will take. Make sure that the path is well lit and that all decorations and landscaping features are removed from the path. A serious fall could put your homeowner liability limit on the line.
- Vehicle Vandalism: On Halloween, the Highway Loss Data Institute found that vehicles are almost twice as likely to be vandalized than any other day of the year. Halloween generates an average of 1,250 vehicle vandalism claims each year. Your best bet, park your vehicle(s) in the garage.
- Dog Bites: Halloween brings heavy traffic to the home and while it can be fun for kids and homeowners, it can be a stressful time for dogs. Even the most docile dog can act out due to anxiety. The dog may be used to kids and visitors…but those kids may not always be dressed up as Darth Vader or Batman. If a costume is enough to make you step back when opening a door, consider being eye level with it as a dog! This isn’t meant to say that all dogs need to be put in a kennel or a separate room, just be careful. The Insurance Information Institute found that in 2013, $479 million in dog related damages were paid out (not just on Halloween).
- Burglary: A dark and empty house usually encourages trick-or-treaters to skip you and move on to the next one. However, the local burglar would be happy to stop by for a visit. A dark empty home is an easy target and increases the chance of theft. Keep a couple of lights on and reduce those chances. Have a dog? They’ll help too!
- You got “TP’d”: Pranksters will be pranksters, there is no avoiding that. If you get toilet papered, please just don’t do this: Family Burns Down House Cleaning Up Toilet Paper. If there is severe damage to the tree or property, contact your agent for guidance and policy details.
Lastly, a little laugh. Check out this video of a Mutant Giant Spider Dog.