Hayes, Williams, Turner & Daughtry, P.A.

Take Halloween safety seriously if you're a homeowner

Halloween is a fun time -- but homeowners shouldn't overlook the serious safety concerns they may have during the season if they participate in the annual neighborhood Trick or Treat event for kids.

Here are some tips you can use to make sure that your home is safe from mishaps come Halloween night:

1. Use some sensible lighting

A spooky-looking vibe is great for atmosphere, but not so great at keeping visitors from trips and falls. Put a few lights out to line your walkway for the night. Battery-operated lights work best. You don't want to use candles with actual flames inside luminaries or jack-o-lanterns because that can be a fire hazard with all the costumes.

2. Check your steps and rails

If you have a front porch, make sure that the steps and handrails are in good condition. If not, it's time to do some repairs before winter anyhow. Anyone you invite to your door could be injured on a loose board or a faulty rail, and you could be held responsible.

3. Lock your pets away

Even a small dog can inflict a serious bite wound. Cats and dogs can easily become anxious or excited by all the noise and strange visitors -- and that can translate into a nervous bite or scratch. Protect both your pets and visitors from harm by putting your pets securely away until the festivities are over.

4. Clear the yard and walk of unexpected surprises

If your front yard is easy to cut through on the way to your door, assume that at least a few kids will try it. Check your yard for unexpected dangers, like gopher holes and forgotten yard tools. Just before it's time to start handing out candy, sweep your walk clear of any accumulated leaves and debris to make the path to your door safer for everyone.

You can't possibly anticipate every danger -- but taking steps to avoid the obvious ones can help you avoid a premises liability lawsuit due to broken bones and other avoidable injuries.

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