When it comes to children, Halloween should be all about the treats. But that means it’s up to parents to do the best they can to streamline the process and eliminate as many of the potential “tricks” out there as you can. At the same time, you can minimize the chances of a claim on your home or auto insurance policies.
Keep fire away from your home and child
One of the biggest threats on Halloween is the possibility of fire, with the chief culprit being the jack-o’-lanterns on your front porch and the front porches of your neighbors. For your part, take great care to make sure that the candle in your jack-o’-lantern is stable and that there’s room between the flame and the pumpkin wall so that the pumpkin flesh doesn’t get too hot or start to burn. Consider using an electric light instead. If you still go the candle route, never leave the jack-o’-lantern unattended. It only takes a few minutes for a burning pumpkin to become a raging house fire.
Even if you exercise the safest practices, some of your neighbors might not be as astute about fire prevention. That just increases the importance of making sure your children wear flame-resistant costumes that fit properly. That baggy sleeve might look cute on your little one, but it could brush against a flame and ignite.
Make the bright choice
Avoid driving after dark if you can on Halloween. It is difficult negotiating the legions of trick-or-treaters, particularly young, excited ones who will be darting from house to house.
But don’t count on other drivers showing the same concern for conditions. Make sure your children are wearing bright clothing or at least have reflective tape on dark costumes. Ditch the masks in favor of makeup; it will allow your child to see better.
Prepare for strangers to come to your house
This is one you might not have thought about, but it’s really important. Clear your sidewalk of anything that could cause a trick-or-treater to fall on your property. In fact, clear the entire yard — kids will run through it to get to another house quickly. Pay particular attention to garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations. Make sure broken steps have been repaired. You don’t want to have to tap the personal liability portion of your homeowners policy to help defend yourself against a lawsuit from the parents of a child who tripped.
Homemade treats: Do’s and don’ts
Most of us give prepackaged candy as our treats, but some folks can’t resist the impulse to make homemade treats, particularly healthy ones. If you take this path, take steps to avoid food poisoning: Don’t hand out anything that can spoil or be undercooked. Should your child collect homemade treats, inspect the goodies carefully — as you should every treat — to make sure they’re safe.
Animal attraction and distraction
The constantly ringing doorbells and visits by strangers can freak out even the friendliest of pets, especially dogs. Figure out a way to restrain your pet to make sure it doesn’t jump on or bite trick-or-treaters. Remember, many children may not be comfortable around dogs and may not react well if one approaches.
If you’ve follow these guidelines, you should be able to treat yourself — and your little monsters, princesses and other creatures — to a fun and safe Halloween. And you’ll escape the ultimate trick — a claim on your home or auto insurance.
This article was contributed by Carrie Van Brunt-Wiley at HomeInsurance.com.