As a homeowner partaking in Halloween, you have an obligation to make your premises safe for visitors. By following a few of the steps listed below, you may reduce the risk that one of those ghouls or goblins morphs into something far worse: a Plaintiff.
- Take a Walk: When you get home from work, imagine the steps that tonight’s trick-or-treaters will be taking as they approach your home and walk it out. Look for any areas that pose potential threats, such as uneven pavement or dimly-lit steps. Start at the typical entry way onto your property and walk it straight up your door.
- Light It Up: I know, I know. Halloween is supposed to be scary, dark, mysterious. But to avoid preventable trips and falls, it’s critical that your home and property is sufficiently lit. Notice a light bulb burnt out or dimming? Change it. No street lights or inadequate lighting for your front property? Purchase a high-powered outdoor spotlight or walkway lighting to illuminate your entire home.
- Put the Pups Inside: Sure, it would be great if everyone (including our furry friends) could enjoy the fun of Halloween and trick-or-treating. However, this can be a shocking experience for a dog, especially one that’s not particularly fond of people to begin with. If you’re not positive how your dog will react to costumed children “intruding” onto their property, don’t risk it. Keep your dog or dogs indoors and away from the front door where trick or treaters knock and give your pup a new chew toy or bone to keep him or her occupied.
- Key an Eye on that Jack-O-Lantern: A true cornerstone of Halloween décor is the carved pumpkin brightened by a candle. While it is obviously advisable to use battery-powered pumpkin lights (yep, really a thing), candles are the preferred, or at least majority, choice. As with any flame, it is essential you keep a watchful eye over the lit pumpkin, and put it away from areas where children are likely to gather. An ignored live flame and children in loose fitting clothing do not make a great match!
- Put Away the Rake: A cluttered yard is a dangerous yard on Halloween. Remember, you’re going to be having kids scrambling from house to house trying to grab up as much candy as possible before the party’s over. Do an inventory of your front yard and any other area that tonight’s visitors will be navigating and remove items that they could trip over, like rakes, lawn furniture, hoses, potted plants or your children’s toys or bicycles.
If you are a homeowner involved in a Halloween-related dispute, it is important you are properly represented. The legal team at Howland, Hess, Guinan, Torpey, Cassidy and O’Connell, LLP, are available to explain and defend your rights today.
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