Protect yourselves from lawsuits on Halloween

Five black Jack-o'-lanterns in a row with an orange-yellow background

Are we monsters if we talk about how to protect yourselves from lawsuits on Halloween? Maybe! But we get some pretty strange calls on November 1, so we might as well tell you about ways that we have conjured up so you can, indeed, protect yourselves.

If you welcome trick-or-treaters or other guests to your home this Halloween, those trick-or-treaters and their companions are “invitees” to your property, not trespassers. This means that, should an injury occur, you could potentially be determined at fault under the premises liability laws. You have a responsibility to keep your property free of hazards.

Following are some tips for keeping your property free of hazards:

Make sure your walkway and/or driveway is well lit

Motion sensors or other types of lights are a good idea to minimize the chances of someone tripping. Don’t use candles to light your walkway! Actually, candles present a more serious hazard than having no lights.

If you have jack-o-lanterns on your porch — or anywhere in your home — put LED lights in them rather than candles to avoid creating a fire hazard.

Remove tripping hazards from the lawn

Make sure that any Halloween decorations in your yard are visible and can’t be something over which a visitor might stumble. Pick up random toys, garden tools and other debris from your lawn before Halloween night. Monitor your yard throughout the evening for debris left by trick-or-treaters. If there’s a hole or other hazard you can’t fix, rope it off with a sign.

Keep your dogs away from the door

Even friendly dogs can become overly excited by all the visitors wearing strange costumes. (This night must seem really odd to your dachshunds!) Minimize the chances that your dog will bite a trick-or-treater by putting them in a separate room.

Don’t overdo the pranks and special effects

Fog machines and strobe lights can make your home stand out. However, they can cause seizures and asthma attacks in some people. Also be careful about doing anything like popping out of a potted plant dressed like The Swamp Thing. If kids run away screaming, they could trip and fall.

Your homeowners’ insurance can likely cover relatively minor injuries that occur on your property. However, if something more serious happens and a neighbor decides to file a lawsuit, you could be in for a long ordeal. It seems that dressing up as a Homeowner on the Offense is your best bet.

Have questions? Call us today!