Halloween is coming up in just a few short days. While some people may go out and party since it is a weekend, another thing is a surety. That is the fact that there will be trick-or-treaters going door to door in search of candy. While some homes may welcome trick-or-treaters and others may elect to opt out of the tradition, one thing is certain: homeowners need to ensure that trick-or-treaters have a reasonable expectation of safety. Realtor.com explores the liability of homeowners if trick-or-treaters get injured.
Under law, if the front porch light is on, trick-or-treaters are considered to be invited visitors. This means that it is the homeowner’s responsibility to have a property free of hazards.
If someone who enters a property on Halloween night gets injured, a homeowner’s insurance policy will cover minor injuries. Unfortunately, homeowners may be liable if it can be proven that the homeowner was negligent or contributed to the injury.
Here’s a checklist for homeowners to go through before those trick-or-treaters show up.
- Make sure that outdoor lights are bright and that pathways are well lit. Walkways should have lighting and porch lights should be turned on.
- Children are not guaranteed to use walkways or driveways to approach your porch. Many may attempt to cut through the yard. Make sure that all paths are free of hazards. This includes tree branches or extension cords that are powering Halloween decorations.
- You may also want to make sure that your porch steps are free from obstacles and trip resistant. This can also mean not using candles to light up Halloween pumpkins, since these are a fire hazard.
- You will also want to make sure that pets are secure. While you may not think that your dog will bite, overexcitement can lead to the pet biting a child or adult, leaving you liable.