Halloween Safety and Premises Liability

Halloween safety is a hot topic every October. We want our kids to be safe while being mindful of our own premises liability. Halloween is anticipated by children probably as much as Christmas, but it can be a source of stress for parents, and drivers making their way through groups of children pumped full of sugar and caffeine. Despite the festive mood, the stream of kids trick-or-treating on this holiday also puts pressure on homeowners, who have an obligation to make sure their premises are reasonably safe and secure. Follow these tips from Panter, Panter, & Sampedro, PA for a Halloween that’s safe and fun for everyone.

Halloween Safety on the Streets:

Halloween is a holiday made for kids, with most of their time spent scouring houses for sweets, but it’s also a time to be extra cautious with them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children are four times more likely to be in fatal pedestrian accidents this night than on any other night, perhaps because of the distractions of costumes, candy, and decorations.

To keep your children’s Halloween peaceful:

  • Make sure you pick brightly colored costumes that don’t blend into the night.
  • If your children do wear dark costumes, add reflective tape to make them easier to spot.
  • Long capes and dress trains are out: avoid long costumes to avoid tripping.
  • Teach your children how to cross streets at corners and appropriate cross-walks, and keep your kids on the sidewalk as often as possible.
  • Visibility is important, so try to use washable face paint instead of masks so your little ones can see.
  • Keep a flashlight with you or provide one for your older kids if you’re going to be out after dark.

Halloween Safety in Your Home: Premise Liability

All those little superheroes running across your lawn are adorable, but what happens if Iron Man slips and falls, spraining his ankle or breaking his arm? You might be liable for his hospital bills. Accidents happen, but prevention is essential in premises liability. Some important ways to ensure everyone has a safe time include keeping your property well-lit and maintaining your front lawn and porch in good repair. This means free of trip or slip hazards; don’t leave Jack-O-Lanterns lit and unattended, and if pumpkin “guts” spill out of your carved pumpkins clean them up quickly and make sure any holes in your lawn are filled in. Just as important, is your homeowner’s insurance current, with all premiums paid? If you own dogs keep an appropriate “Beware of Dog” sign posted visibly and Fido in his crate when the doorbell rings to avoid any mishaps.Follow our tips and enjoy your Halloween! May you only have to endure whining about raisins in a trick-or-treat bag.

Source: USA.gov, “Halloween,” 17 October 2012