Winchester Mystery House (image is in public domain)

It’s almost that time of year when people stretch cobwebs on porches, prop plastic inflatable pumpkins and plastic gravestones in front yards, string flashing lights everywhere, and my favorite — arrange mechanized life-sized creeping zombies that crawl and moan. These decorations mean it’s also the time of year to establish safer conditions around your spook house.

At my law firm, we handle claims for visitors to unsafe homes, so who better to provide a list of “hot spots” that can help prevent premise injury claims at your residence.

Five Safeguard Tips for Your Haunted House:

  1. Keep walkways dry and clear from anything that might trip your visitors. This includes cords and crawling zombies.
  2. haunted house2

    If the area outside the house is dark, trick-or-treaters might stumble and fall (image is in public domain)

    Maintain good lighting for your candy-hunting guests in areas where they walk up to your doorway. Keep in mind that these children are wearing masks that can block vision, and that many of these children are running as they approach your front door. Dark-tinted lights and flashing strobes are a recipe for trouble, even if they look fantastic in a disco. One idea: Try the “Christmas light style” jack-o-lantern lights on your banisters and stairways to highlight handrails.

  3. Use extension cords for electrical items in the yard that are rated for outdoor use so as to avoid electrical shorts and fires.
  4. Secure yard decorations (wooden signs and faux grave markers) from the bold fall wind. We have a neighbor who has a series of homemade plywood gravestones that are propped against 2-by-4 wood blocks in the ground. The same yard (which looks pretty weird and scary, and thus attractive to children) also has ten-foot stretches of iron and wood fence propped up against stakes along the edge of the yard. Weather changes, including wind, could bring one of these unstable, heavy sections down on top of a child
  5. Direct traffic at your doorway. Limit the number of trick or treaters coming up to the door to prevent chaos and possible injuries when departing ghouls bump into arriving ghosts. You might try being on the porch during the busiest hours to hand out candy.

Enjoy a safe and lawsuit-free holiday with your guests. Oh, and watch out for those zombies, especially the mechanical ones.

Denver, Colorado personal injury lawyer Shaun Kaufman offers advice on how to serve Halloween candy without being served with a lawsuit for dangerous home conditions.

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Managing Partner at Shaun Kaufman Law
Shaun Kaufman has 30 years of in-court experience, with hundreds of hours spent defending numerous high-profile cases including homicide, white-collar theft and RICO offenses. Specialties: Criminal defense, personal injury, business litigation, DUI.

Shaun Kaufman Law: 303-309-0430
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