Homeowner Halloween safety tips
Halloween time is here, and, although it’s a fun day, it can pose risks to homeowners, children and pets. Check with your insurance agent to make sure your homeowners policy has the proper coverage to protect you and your property. Here are some tips to keep everyone safe and avoid insurance claims and even lawsuits.
It’s up to the homeowner to keep their property safe when welcoming the ghosts and goblins to the front door. Make sure your outside lights are on and the walkway and stairs are clear of any obstacles such as flower pots, ornaments, and wet leaves. This will avoid trips and falls and protect you against any liability claims on your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Serve only pre-packaged candy or fruit. If you are having a Halloween party, remember you are responsible for your guests when it comes to serving alcohol. Do not allow anyone under the legal drinking age to consume alcoholic beverages and be aware of anyone drinking excessively.
Do not use candles in Jack-o-Lanterns or in your home. These can easily be knocked over and cause a fire. Children should not carry candles, even in a Jack-o-Lantern. Use battery-powered candles, flashlights or light sticks.
Use caution when carving pumpkins. This activity should be supervised by an older child or an adult. A pumpkin cutter is the safest tool to use instead of a knife.
If you are stepping out for Halloween, tell your neighbors. Keep lights on inside and out. This will deter not only burglars but vandals as well.
Halloween is not usually a fun time for pets, particularly dogs and cats. They can become frightened or overly excited by the constant ringing of the doorbell, the commotion of you running back and forth to the front door and the voices of the children. Even the strange looking costumes can hype up a dog or cat.
Keep your pets, particularly dogs and cats, away from trick-or-treaters. This not only keeps your guests safe, but your pets as well. A dog that is frightened or feels threatened can bite – it’s their nature, no matter how docile or well-behaved you may think they may be. A dog bite can lead to a claim on your homeowners insurance policy or a lawsuit.
It’s best to keep pets in another room during trick-or-treat hours. Put them in a crate with a towel or blanket over it. Give them their favorite toy and some treats. Also, play some soft music to help drown out the noise from the youngsters.
Don’t leave your pet in a car or outside alone during trick-or-treat hours. They can become easily frightened and anxious if left alone in a car from the noise and strange sights. This can lead to your pet damaging the inside of the vehicle. Also, there have been instances of pets being injured, teased, stolen, and even killed on Halloween when left unattended outside.
If you want your dog to be part of the Halloween fun, there are costumes just for pets. Make sure your dog can tolerate it and that it is not too tight or loose and cumbersome. There are Halloween collars, bandanas and full costumes available for dogs. Be careful nothing on the costume can become a choking hazard. Additionally, make sure parts of the costume can’t become caught on anything.
Your dog’s costume have some reflective stripes if you’re planning on taking him or her trick-or-treating. Make sure you have your dog’s identification tag on its collar. Those strange looking costumed children passing you by on the street could frighten your pet and he or she may try to run off. Should your dog get away from you, it would be easier to find it with the ID tag. Consider getting a microchip implanted in your dog or cat. It allows your pet to be easily tracked down.
Many pet shops sell Halloween treats for pets. Do not give your dog or cat chocolate. A substance in chocolate, the bromine, is toxic to pets. Candy, in general, is not good for your pet since it can cause upset stomachs. Be careful not to leave wrappers around for your pet to consume. These can lead to choking or intestinal blockages. Don’t leave candy lying around where you pet can easily access it. Halloween decorative corn and pumpkins are usually non-toxic but can cause stomach irritation if consumed.
Have fun on Halloween, but make it safe.
If you are in need of an insurance agent or are looking to find out what your insurance options are for your home, auto, health or business please contact me.
Independent Insurance Broker
Walter J. May Insurance Agency Inc., Hingham, MA
Direct: 781-740-5421 Cell: 617-827-6848