If we have children who plan to trick or treat, or we intend to invite trick or treaters onto our property, or even if we are simply sharing the roads with trick or treaters on the big night, we are all participants in Halloween in some way. So how do we minimize liability and maximize fun? Your Denver personal injury lawyer Jordan Levine has some great ideas.
First, the signal to trick or treaters that you are “open for business” on Halloween is having your light on; if you do, then you are inviting children onto your property. As a homeowner, you are therefore liable for any personal injuries sustained by children and/or their caregivers while on your property. If you rent your property, typically the landlord or management company is responsible for the safety of the premises, unless otherwise stated in the lease. Either way, below are some tips for preparing your property for the Night of Fright:
- Make sure your property is free of tripping hazards
- Make sure the area is well lit
- Use battery candles instead of real ones for jack-o-lanterns and other decorations
- Keep pets confined and away from kids
- Clean all debris from stairwells/steps
It is also a good idea to check your homeowner’s or renters insurance policy, to make sure it is current, and to verify that its terms cover any liability for personal injuries sustained on your property. If you have questions about whether your policy adequately protects you, consult a personal injury lawyer in the Denver area. That way, the only “Fright” of the “Night” will be if you run out of treats.
Second, when choosing costumes, preparing children for trick or treating, and actually eating the prizes of the evening, the Centers for Disease Control has some good suggestions to follow:
- Costume swords, knives, etc. should be soft and short
- Avoid trick or treating alone
- Fasten reflective tape to costumes and candy bags
- Examine all candy for choking hazards and tampering before eating
Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) advises trick or treaters to:
- Stay in a group
- Carry a cell phone
- Stay on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk
- If there is no sidewalk, walk on the far edge of the roadway facing traffic
- Never cut across yards or alleys
- Only cross streets as a group on established crosswalks; never cross between
- Don’t assume the right of way
- Inform police ASAP of any suspicious activity.
The scary part of Halloween should be the haunted houses and decorations, not personal injuries. If a costume design proves to be dangerous, if candy is found to be tampered with, or if your trick or treater is injured in any way, contact an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer at Levine Law for a consultation on your rights.