Halloween — Is Your Home Safe for Trick-or-Treaters?

October 23, 2018

Trick or treat – smell my feet, don’t let kids trip on your street!

We’re all excited for the upcoming Halloween festivities, and if you’re expecting a lot of visitors/trick-or-treaters to come by your home that night, it’s time to break out the Halloween decorations. You might even want to step up your game and go a little extra scary this year (to show your flashy neighbours who’s boss).

That being said, it’s important to consider the safety implications that come with going all out with different types of props. One of the kids or guests could fall or get injured while on your property and, before you know it, heeeeeeere’s a liability claim! That’s hardly a win for anyone involved. In any situation where a lot of potential visitors could come to your home, it is always good practice to get in touch with your broker and be aware of the coverages included in your homeowner’s policy. Stay on the safe side and follow these precautions, and you can get through the night ensuring everyone stays safe and has a grand ol’ time.

  • Fire Hazards:

Nothing screams Halloween more than Jack-O-Lanterns, especially when night falls and you want to light up those spooky pumpkin faces you worked so hard on. However, having a lit flame near children poses a serious fire hazard. Statistics show that decorations involving candles, such as those found in jack-o’-lanterns, cause about 800 home fires in North America, causing nearly $4 million in direct property damage per year. (Aviva Canada, 2015) Alternatively, you can use battery powered candles for your pumpkins that usually can stay lit for hours, so you can keep them on all night without worrying!

 

  • Tripping or Slipping Hazards:

Other than pumpkins, there are all kinds of common decorations like fake gravestones, signs, bones, etc. Make those are out of the way and provide clear path to your door. Kids’ costumes often include masks which can obscure their vision. This also includes clearing everyday tripping hazards like hoses, garden equipment, leaves and twigs.

 

  • Hanging objects:

Hanging skeletons, ghosts and cobwebs can add to the eerie vibe of the night, but hanging objects could come loose or get blown away by wind, and end up falling on someone underneath or close by. Make sure you secure everything properly. Depending on weight, using tack or tape could be enough for the lighter paper products, but for something heaver you might need some zip ties for a bit of extra hold.

 

  • Pets:

If you own a pet, you might be excited to show off their adorable new Batman costume and have them entertain the youngsters, but pets could get very excitable and overwhelmed in situations with a lot of people and noise, and could get startled when they see any costumes of some menacing looking character. To keep both the kids and your pets safe from such situations, make sure to keep your furry friends in a confined area for the night.

 

  • Lighting:

Keeping your outdoor lights on is always the go-to signal for trick-or-treaters to know you’re home and open for business, and even if your lawn and walkways are clear from tripping hazards, having efficient lighting is essential to make sure the kids navigate their way safely. It also helps to discourage any potential pranksters from approaching your home.  Another thing to keep in mind is that if you have decorations that use a lot of lighting or electricity, don’t plug them all into one spot and overload your outlets. And remember to unplug them at the end of the night! Using lights with timers would be a good way to get them to deactivate automatically at a set time.

 

  • Candy:

Let’s be real, no matter how lit your Halloween decorations are, at the end of the day, the kiddos are here for the CANDY. It’s the only day of the year that the whole “don’t take candy from strangers” rule is completely out the window. Make sure to be careful of what you’re giving out and avoid candy that could be harmful for the little ones, whether it contains choking hazards or known allergens, most commonly nuts. Peanut allergy in Canada affects about 2 in 100 children (Food Allergy Canada, 2018). And we all know they would consume any sort of sugary goodness without hesitation, so don’t take the risk and make sure to stick with the safer, more straightforward options.

If you follow these precautions you can ensure your house is safe on Halloween, without compromising your spookiness level. And for more information about your home insurance policy, make sure you know who you gonna call!

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