As you bring out the decorations and get ready for Halloween parties and trick-or-treaters, take some time to evaluate the liability exposures that go along with having guests on your property.
Keep these tips in mind to make sure Halloween is safe and happy for everyone!
Around the House
- Make sure sidewalks, driveways, and stairs are illuminated for visibility and clear of trip and fall hazards. Halloween festivities tend to take place after dark, and it can be difficult for guests to see.
- Even the most docile family pets can become agitated by the influx of extra visitors, especially if they are in costume and wearing masks. Take extra precautions with dogs who may be aggressive.
- Avoid burning candles as part of your eerie decor. Flickering candles can add to the ambiance, but they are also an extreme fire hazard if not properly monitored. Consider using battery-operated candles or glow sticks instead.
- Only hand out commercially-packaged goodies to your neighborhood trick-or-treaters. Homemade goods, while often special and appreciated, can pose a liability issue if a child gets sick or has an allergic reaction.
- Supervise young children while they are on your property. If you are leaving for the night, make sure to secure your home to protect from theft or pranksters while you are away.
Hosting a party?
If you host a Halloween party – at home or another location – make sure you have appropriate insurance coverage. Serving alcohol to guests exposes you to host liquor liability, which means you could be held legally liable for serving alcohol to a guest who leaves your party and causes injury or property damage to someone else.
- Have a few designated drivers in attendance. Uber is another alternative, if available in your area.
- Consider hiring a professional bartender who is trained to recognize intoxication and limit alcohol consumption.
- Limit your own alcohol intake. As a responsible host, you can better judge the sobriety of your guests and help make arrangements to ensure they get home safely.
- Stop serving alcohol toward the end of the evening and consider serving coffee and/or tea.
- Review your insurance policy with your agent if you are hosting a party away from your home to ensure you have the necessary liability as well as off-premises property damage protection.
Don’t be haunted by a mishap this Halloween – make sure you’re covered!