Halloween safety tip tales have long included horror stories of razor-filled caramels and egg-tossing teenagers. As your friendly insurance advisors, we’re sorry to report that the list of potential All Hallows Eve havoc does not end there. Things that go bump in the night can lead to scary claims – and, just to be clear, those ‘things’ are people. Read below as we share how to keep your Halloween as free from risk as possible. We’ll even throw in a few COVID-specific guidelines.
Remember: The scariest thing you can encounter going ‘bump in the night’ October 31 isn’t that horror flick marathon you insist on watching. It’s the ‘L’ word, also known as lawsuit. The travesty of Halloween night should be that your child doesn’t share enough of their chocolate stash, not that you’re calling your insurance advisor at 10pm to check coverage limits.
Therefore, we advise you do the following long before you stock up on bags of candy for all those trick or treaters. Start with these.
Check your potential tripping hazards.
- There is little more terrifying than realizing that the little goblin or Star Wars character laid out in your yard is screaming in pain. Before Halloween night arrives, walk the routes children will take to arrive at your doorstep. If there are any holes in the lawn or wonky stepping stones, address those.
- Nix the fog machine if it elicits confusion. If children can’t see their gloved hand in front of their face, the fog is too thick. You’re not setting a mood – you’re setting a hazard.
Say NO to hosting a haunted house in the age of COVID-19
- We know that this is an especially difficult suggestion to follow. The pandemic has inspired so many potential horror vignettes (people without masks! Less than six feet apart in social situations)! Even if yours is the house that usually invites the neighborhood inside for creative scares, forego it this year. The risk of COVID is just too high.
- In the future, know that charging admission to your own haunted house could lead to it being viewed as a business – with the accompanying risks. Our advice? -Don’t do it.
Look where you’re placing those pumpkins. And life-size grim reapers. And….you get the idea.
- That skeleton in the middle of the driveway is destined to scare the pants off some kid, so goal achieved! We applaud your attention to location, really, but said kid could also be seriously hurt in this situation. Move the skeleton to a more well-lit area.
- While you’re at it, it’s worth noting that a real fire is not to be considered a scare success. Check your electrical outlets. Don’t overload them. And if you select decorations that contain lights, check to ensure they are safe.
- If a decoration contains a light source, don’t place anything over it. That goes with black paper, towels, etc. Looking for ambience? Consider a colored light bulb. Simply screw it into a normal light outlet and, voila! Instant creepiness. We suggest the lights that give off a rosy glow. Unexpected….and simultaneously foreboding.
Remember that this is Halloween with a pandemic twist.
- Even if you don’t normally host the scariest haunted house walk-through on the block, this isn’t the time to invite neighbors inside for spiked apple cider. Respect social distance guidelines. Hand out candy yourself, instead of allowing all those little hands to grope around in the bowl for the biggest piece. And follow up the visit with a squirt of hand sanitizer (for the trick or treater and yourself).
- Organize a bike parade. This really only works if the neighborhood understands what’s going on – otherwise, you and your kids will just get exercise without the candy. A bike parade allows for social distancing and allows everyone to wear those cute costumes they’ve been planning for months. Neighbors stand on driveways and throw candy while people cycle by. It’s really that simple.
- Set up a table at the end of your own driveway and decorate it. You’ll be able to control how close people interact, keep those sticky hands out of your treat bucket, and still participate in the holiday to the fullest.
- Stuff a pinata with your household’s favorite candy and let the kids pummel it. There you have a win-win: no undue coronavirus exposure, plus all the candy the kids collect will go in the ‘keep’ pile.
Before the big BOO day, talk with your insurance advisor about your homeowners and umbrella policies. Being prepared this year for Halloween means so much more than just purchasing bags of candy. The same Halloween safety tips apply as always – with some extra COVID precautions thrown in for good measure.