Check the Safety of Your Property for Ghosts and Goblins this Halloween

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Halloween is the perfect time to appraise potential dangers for visitors to your property.

Overall, it's about peace of mind, not fear of legal liability

While Vampires and Zombies are seemingly more frightening than sidewalks, driveways, condominium party rooms and lawns, these all are potential liabilities against homeowners and condo associations that could have frightening outcomes. According to premises liability expert, attorney Jeffrey Kroll (, Halloween is the perfect time to appraise potential dangers for visitors to your property. "Just as parents protect their children on Halloween with fire-retardant costumes and flashlights to be more visible, homeowners also have a responsibility to make sure their residences are safe for all the trick-or-treaters that come knocking," said Kroll.

According to Kroll, here is what homeowners need to pay attention to:

Lighting the Entrance Way: Bypass the Candles: When walking up to your home people may have to climb steps or walk down a long pavement before they get to your door. Be sure the entire path is clear and well lit. Also, avoid using candle luminaries in bags, they are a fire hazard and could brush up against a child's costume.

Condominium Owners Need to Set Policies: Condominium owners that have an outside management company must remember final responsibility for safety and liability will typically rest with the condominium unit owners. Therefore, letting people into the common area requires making sure those people are safe.

Keep Pets Out of the Picture: Pets that are normally harmless may get too excited by the Halloween chaos and cause harm or fear to the trick or treaters. According to the American Medical Association, dog bites are the second leading cause of childhood injury. Not to mention, if you're distracted with handing out candy, your fury friend could make an escape out the front door!

Clear the Path: Some municipalities have requirements about how level concrete needs to be for pathways. With all of the potential pedestrian traffic, be sure you don't have any cracked cement popping up that people might easily trip on. Use available temporary solutions for leveling potential harmful tripping areas.

Fill Hazardous Holes: Because all trick-or-treaters may not necessarily use the path to your front door, be sure that any ground openings or even swimming pools are repaired, blocked or covered. Major repairs might require fencing or bright cones to warn of dangerous or hazardous areas.

"Overall, it's about peace of mind, not fear of legal liability," said Kroll. "There are equally important non-legal benefits of taking the time to follow these tips. First, it's important and courteous to protect anyone visiting your home. Second, families with children in the neighborhood will appreciate your concerns and precautionary measures. Finally, using Halloween as a perfect reason to check on safety issues can impact your property throughout the year. People have learned to change their smoke detector batteries when they change their clocks. Halloween can be a reminder to check the safety of your home and property."

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