Halloween Safety for Homeowners and Drivers

Trick-or-treat! Halloween is approaching quickly. Unfortunately, accidents and mischief can cause problems on this night of spooky fun. These tips can help minimize risk and prevent accidents, which can in turn keep insurance premiums low. Here's what you need to know.

Home Safety
Halloween is a time when many visitors and strangers are likely to come to the door. Homeowners who aren't prepared may open themselves up to risks that cause injuries, accidents and even thefts. Being prepared is important.
Know the Etiquette
Turn on your porch light to invite trick-or-treaters to come to your door. If you don't want trick-or-treaters (or if you run out of candy), keep the lights off and the door locked. If you turn your porch light off, turn your inside lights on to signal to possible burglars, intruders, or vandals that you are still at home.
Keep the Path Clear and Visible
If you invite trick-or-treaters to come to your door, keep the path to the door clearly visible to prevent accidents like trips and falls. Line the pathway with garden lighting or decorative Halloween-themed pathway lighting.
If your path is uneven, rocky, or cracked by tree roots, put extra lights in these areas to prevent children and their escorts from tripping. Keep extension cords off the path, and keep Halloween decorations off of the path as well.
Make Home Repairs
Loose or missing stair rails can lead to accidents, as can broken porch stairs. Before inviting trick-or-treaters to your door, make any home repairs that could cause injury.
Avoid Open Flames
Candles with open flames are a serious liability that can cause home fires, burns, and even death. Fortunately, you can use electronic substitutes. If candles are an important part of your Halloween decor, buy battery-operated candles before the big day. If you're planning to reuse battery-operated candles from last year, check them in advance to ensure that the batteries are in good condition.
Keep Pets Under Control
Many pets feel threatened when strangers come to call. This can lead some pets to behave in unpredictable ways. To avoid accidents like animal bites and other problems, keep your pet inside and away from trick-or-treaters. If your pet is hard to control or difficult to keep penned up, send your pet to a loved one's house or to a pet-sitting service for the evening.
Secure the Home When Out Trick-Or-Treating
You know not to leave your door unlocked, but you should really make sure you secure your home on Halloween. Property crimes cause insurance claims to increase by almost 25 percent around Halloween night.
The best way to ensure that your home will be safe is to keep the doors and windows closed and locked. If you have a security system, activate it before you leave. If you're planning to be gone on a vacation or trip on Halloween night, ask a trusted loved one to check in on your house or house-sit on Halloween night.
Be Careful When Leaving Candy Out
Some people who plan to be out of the house on Halloween night will leave candy on their front porch for trick-or-treaters. This is a nice gesture, but it can signal to strangers that the house is currently empty. Especially if property crime is common in your neighborhood, a safer approach may be in order.
Talk to relatives or family friends to find someone who can hand out candy while you're out. If you can't find someone to watch your home, keep the candy inside and leave an inside light on to make your house look occupied.
Auto Safety
Driving can be dangerous on Halloween. Fatal crashes involving drunk drivers are more common on Halloween than on New Years. At the same time, many residential streets are over-run with children. Here's how you can stay safe.
Use Extra Caution
Drive well below the speed limit in residential neighborhoods, especially during the official trick-or-treat hours for your community. If you're not sure how to find out what your trick-or-treat hours are, contact your community police department or check your local paper.
Secure Your Car
Once you're in for the night, put your car in the garage or behind the gate in your driveway, if you have one. Lock your garage door once the car is inside.
Drive Defensively
If you do go out for a party or even just to get more candy, drive slowly and defensively. Stay well behind any cars that are weaving or driving suspiciously. If you do choose to go to a party, bring a designated driver with you.
For more information about how you can stay safe, prevent injuries and avoid property crimes this Halloween, contact your insurance agent. Your insurance agent can tell you more about which claims are most common on Halloween in your area. At L.A. Insurance, we're happy to answer homeowner questions. Call us today to find out more about staying safe on Halloween.