The scariest thing about Halloween may be homeowners liability

If trick-or-treaters get hurt on their property, homeowners could be responsible for their injuries.
If trick-or-treaters get hurt on their property, homeowners could be responsible for their injuries. (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Happy Halloween boys and ghouls!

Tonight is the night when children, big and small, will visit neighbourhood houses to collect candy. Homeowners even decorate their houses with scary and delightful decorations to attract trick-or-treaters.

What homeowners may not be aware of though is that if trick-or-treaters get hurt on their property, they may be responsible for those injuries.

That’s right; homeowners liability is constantly in effect. When homeowners are expecting hordes of costumed kids, they have to be extra cautious that their property is safe for visitors.

It is the responsibility of homeowners to make sure their property is safe for visitors during the Halloween festivities,” Wayne Ross, insurance and claims expert for Aviva Canada says. He adds, “By taking some precautions, homeowners can join in the Halloween celebrations and enjoy a safe night of festive fun with their families.”

While homeowners insurance will likely cover you if someone hurts himself or herself while on your property, owners are still expected to take safety precautions in order to help prevent risk of injury.

There are a few things you can do to lessen the risk of injury and avoid being sued, such as:

  • Don’t keep your property in the dark. It may be enticing to make it dark to increase the scare factor but not being able to see can lead to injuries;
  • Eliminate safety hazards, such as tools, electrical wires, toys and decorations. Make sure they’re not on the walkways to your house;
  • Don’t leave your pets outside. Pets can get spooked by Halloween activities and could become a hazard to trick-or-treaters; and
  • Make sure people drink responsibly, if you are hosting a Halloween party, you may be liable as a host if a drunken guest gets hurt on or off your property.

You may also want to call your insurance broker and ensure your home insurance covers you for all risk situations.

Have a safe scare-ebration!

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