13 Ways to Protect Your Home on Halloween
Halloween is fun because it’s scary, but there are people who take advantage of the chaos of this holiday to steal from you or do damage to your personal property. It’s also a holiday that is often riddled with accidents, which can be quite expensive if you don’t have the right homeowners insurance or renters insurance. Based on incidents that have occurred in the past, we’ve created a checklist of things for you to be wary of this Halloween.
Vandalism and Your Car
It happens. Sometimes, it happens the night before Halloween and sometimes it’s on Halloween night. The more brightly your property is lit, the less likely that troublemakers will do any harm to your home. However, it’s not unheard of for trick-or-treaters to throw things at homes where they turn up empty handed, so be prepared with candy.
Cars are twice as likely to be vandalized on Halloween, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). Also the highest number of claims are filed on Halloween, for incidents of slashed tires and smashed windows. In these situations, you are covered by comprehensive coverage, something not everyone has. And even when you’re covered, you’ll have to pay the deductible before coverage begins.
Park in the garage if you have one, both the night before Halloween and Halloween evening. If you are out in an unfamiliar neighborhood, ask your host where you should park. Another option (perhaps the best one) is to Uber on Halloween. This way, you don’t have to worry about your car or drunk drivers and drunk driving.
If you have no choice but to park somewhere unfamiliar, try to find parking in the most brightly lit spot, where vandals will be less likely to do their terrible deeds. Also, draw as little attention to your car as possible. Don’t leave your phone or any valuables in there.
If you have a truck, empty out the bed and lock up anything you usually keep in there, especially tools and tool boxes.
For those who are extra cautious, using a car tarp to cover your car or truck for the night is also a very good deterrent. Eggs, whipped cream and any other liquid can damage a car’s paint, so you’re better off being safe than sorry the next day.
Vandalism, Lawsuits and Your Home on Halloween
We mentioned keeping your home’s exterior well-lit, but another great option that deters thieves are motion-sensor lights, which can be very discouraging for mischief-makers.
Not only should you keep your home well lit on Halloween, you need to take care of a few things on your property because they can easily be stolen: lawn furniture, lawn ornaments and even gardening tools are there for the taking so clear your property of anything that can be carried away.
Do not leave your pets outside, not even the cat who likes to patrol the neighborhood. Not only is your pet not safe due to a surge in foot traffic, but if your dog attacks a trick-or-treater and bites, you may be liable to a lawsuit. It’s important to note that you are covered for injuries if this ever happens, on any day, not just during Halloween. If the victim still tries to sue beyond immediate medical bills, you will also be covered for legal expenses. However, you do not want to file a claim with your insurer unless it’s absolutely necessary, so try to avoid a scene like this by keeping all pets indoors during Halloween.
You also want to make sure that not a single trick-or-treater gets hurt on your property, yet another reason to clear the yard of rakes and any objects that may cause injury to a child who may stray away from a cleared driveway. Some people even go so far as to camp out and give out candy in the driveway, as opposed to the doorway, to deter thieves and vandals who may break in after the doors are opened to them and also because this way, you have a clear view of your home and are visible. The chances of anyone attacking your home or property are slim and there’s less of a chance that anyone will get hurt on your property.
Also, make sure to have candy handy if you’re giving treats at the door. Leaving the door unattended to fetch some candy is a sure-fire way to get robbed. If you must leave to get something, lock the door and open it when you’re ready.
Monitoring your front door with a camera is what many homeowners do now, any day of the year. If you’ve been thinking about setting up a system for your home, now may be the time to do it, before Halloween! Not only will you know who is coming ahead of time, if someone does vandalize your home, the footage may help you report the crime to the police. At best, you’ll always have a video of the neighborhood children on Halloween!
Setting candles in a jack-o-lantern is not a great idea and neither is leaving candles in a pathway or on the front steps. It may look really charming, but open flames and costumes are a dangerous combination.
If you have a mail slot, you’re liable to get a lot of noxious and horrible gasses being inserted through the opening. You’ll want to tape that shut a day or two before Halloween so you’re not the target of a Mischief Night prank or a Halloween trick.
Some people go so far as removing their mailboxes on Halloween because they are prone to rotten eggs or freshly cracked ones. Some neighborhood kids still think it’s funny to ride around bashing mailboxes with their baseball bats (this ritual seems never to die off!).
Make sure to lock up your back gate if you have one. The backyard is a target for burglars, especially if it’s dark. Keep it well lit and as closed off as possible.
Lastly, if you look through your peephole (always use the peephole!) and feel uncomfortable opening the door, don’t do it. Your instincts may be telling you something. As rare as an incident like this may be, sometimes intruders come a-knockin’ on Halloween. Another great reason to consider turning off all the lights and disabling the front bell for the evening (no, don’t do this -- a seemingly empty home is an unsafe home).
Protect an Empty House
You may have plans Halloween night, leaving your house completely empty (except maybe the dog). First, you’ll want to make sure to lock up your house and back gate. Turn on your alarm and surveillance system if you have them. If you don’t, you should seriously consider a camera or video system that may also lower your home insurance rate.
It’s also a good idea to let your neighbors know that you will be out for the evening so that they may also keep an eye on strange activity they may notice. This way, they can call the police immediately if they think someone seems suspicious and is lingering around your home too long.
Lighting timers are also a great way to make people outside think you’re home. You can schedule for the timer to turn the lights around your home on and off at specific times. Leave a bowl of candy outside with instructions so that your trick-or-treaters don’t think you’re not answering the door and refusing them candy (vengeance!).
Hosting a Party on Halloween
While throwing your own party may be a safer alternative to driving to and from a party where there will be alcohol served, keep in mind that you will have these added risks when having a party: like guests driving home drunk, people tripping and falling on your property and also strangers outside can easily get inside the house, where they may blend in with your friends in costume and steal from you!
In many cases, if there are any mishaps or accidents, call your agent because your homeowners insurance (or renters insurance) may cover the loss. Make sure you have the right homeowners insurance policy. If you want to compare homeowners insurance rates from different companies, visit here.
Here’s hoping you have a happy Halloween without too much mischief!
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