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Halloween Safety Tips for Homeowners

Halloween is almost upon us! While our children look forward to this holiday full of festivities, costumes and candy it is important that be mindful of the added liability exposure this day brings to your home. We don’t mean to spoil the fun, but there are a few tips you should follow in order to ensure the safety of all involved and at the same time protect your home from liability:

  • Make a path – Remove all obstacles from around your home so that visitors don’t trip and injure themselves.  This is a good rule of thumb year-round, but especially important during Halloween. Clear your home’s sidewalks and paths of lawn ornaments, gardening equipment, toys, etc. to help avoid a liability claim.
  • Do not use fire! – Candles and luminaries are easily overturned raising the risk for fire damage and, thus, a homeowner’s insurance claim.  For spooky lighting consider using battery-powered lanterns and light sticks.
  • Keep the lights on – This is a good year-round tip to deter burglars who don’t like a well-lit home, but during Halloween it is especially important that trick-or-treaters can see clearly when they enter your property after dark. Slip and fall claims are one of the most common home insurance claims…take a moment to make sure your home is free of trip hazards.
  • Supervise pumpkin carving – Be sure to have an adult or older child supervise the pumpkin carving activities.  Consider using a special pumpkin cutter for even greater safety.
  • Jack-o-Lanterns – Use a battery-powered light in your pumpkins instead of a candle to avoid starting a fire.  Jack-o-Lanterns lit by candles can easily be tipped over by trick-or-treaters or pets.
  • Confine your pets – Keep dogs and cats away from the front porch or areas where they might jump on or even bite unfamiliar visitors.
  • Test your home smoke alarms – FEMA recommends we test our smoke alarms monthly, but just in case you have not been that diligent, it might be a good idea to test them in advance of Halloween celebrations. This is also a good time to test your home security system.
  • Home security – Halloween is prime time for mischief and burglaries.  Don’t forget to activate your alarm system before you leave your home on and around the Halloween holiday.  Also, make sure to test and/or activate any motion-sensitive lights you have around your property and don’t forget to alert your neighbors that you will be away.
  • Be careful what you serve – Offer only commercially-packaged and sealed treats to trick-or-treaters.  Remember that you are responsible for the safety of all guests who will visit your home this Halloween, so consider serving non-alcoholic beverages to your adult party guests. If you will be serving alcohol, be sure not to allow it for anyone who is under-age.
  • Review your homeowners insurance – Call us – spend a moment reviewing your coverage to ensure that you will be fully protected for whatever plans you have for the Halloween Holiday.

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