Tips to Keep You Safe This Halloween
Halloween can be a frightfully fun time as long as everyone is safe. Mercury Insurance experts are here to help you protect your home and family on the days surrounding All Hallows’ Eve.
“Halloween is fun for young and old, but it can wreak havoc on your home and property,” said Christopher O’Rourke, Mercury Insurance’s vice president of property claims. “Homeowners should stay vigilant by taking precautionary safety measures around their homes and checking their policy to make sure it’s updated.”
Whether you plan to host a Halloween party, welcoming trick-or-treaters, or settling in for the night with a scary movie, these tips will keep you safe and your property protected no matter how you celebrate.
Make sure pathways are clutter-free. Remove outdoor items such as garden hoses, tools, and even children’s toys from the walkway leading up to your home. Not only does it prevent possible theft it will also prevent potential injuries to visiting guests.
Keep back gates locked. You may be greeting trick-or-treaters at your front door but thieves will have their eyes on your backyard. An easily accessible, secluded back area is a prime target for burglars looking to make their way onto your property without suspicion. Keep any back gates, back-facing garage doors, or entranceways closed and locked to make your yard less desirable to would-be prowlers.
Leave the lights on. While you may have the spookiest looking Halloween display on your block, it is best to keep certain areas around your home bright. Not only will it make it easier for trick-or-treaters and guests to make their way to your front door, it will decrease any potential problems such as pathway navigation or thieves hiding in the shadows.
Lock the front door. With little ghosts and goblins consistently showing up for treats at your door on Halloween night, the desire to keep the door unlocked so it’s easy to open can be hard to resist. However, the slight inconvenience of locking and unlocking the door throughout the night is nothing compared to the damage a thief could do to your home or yourself. Lock the front door every time you close it.
Hang out with your neighbors. Make Halloween the social event of your neighborhood. Talking and engaging with your neighbors can improve the security of your area. Neighbors can watch each other’s homes and make note of any suspicious behavior. Thieves don’t like crowds or observant people. Talking with your neighbors can be an excellent deterrent.
Out of town? Don’t let thieves know. If you find yourself celebrating Halloween out of town, set your home security system and activate any motion sensor lights outside your home. Let your neighbors know you are going out of town so they can keep an eye on your place.
Halloween safety isn’t limited to the home. Destination bound drivers must be cautious around this time of year, especially on Halloween night.
“Halloween claims data is pretty spooky,” says Kevin Quinn, Vice President of Claims at Mercury Insurance. “We see an increase in broken windows and theft of personal property from vehicles year after year, as well as parked car collision claims. And it’s pretty common for our insureds to report minor vandalism damage, such as dents and dings to their parked cars, or that their vehicles had been damaged by being keyed or egged.”
Follow these tips to keep your vehicle safe no matter if it’s parked in front of your home or taking you to a party.
Drive Carefully. According to SafeKids.org, children are more than twice as likely to be injured on Halloween. Be cautious while driving, especially in residential areas. Keep an eye out for pedestrians or children darting out between cars. If you are out with your own children Halloween night, cross at the crosswalk and make sure costumes are illuminated and can be seen at night.
Park Your Car in a Safe Place. Cars are a prime target for vandals and thieves. If possible, park your car in your garage. If you don’t have access to a garage, make sure to park in a well-lit, populated area and always activate your alarm when leaving your vehicle.
Review Your Policy. Halloween is a busy holiday period with a lot of activity in neighborhoods, so it’s not out of the ordinary to hear reports of vandalism to cars and homes. The good news is that the right kind of insurance can help you with many of these costly pranks – talk to your insurance agent before Halloween to review your current coverage.
Planning to take little ones out to gather sweets and goodies? Make sure they have a fun and safe time by following these tips:
Pick a costume that fits. Nothing is more fun on Halloween than having kids dress up as their favorite characters but avoid long costumes that can become potential tripping hazards or masks that make it difficult for your child to see or breathe out of. If your child prefers to paint their faces instead, make sure the face paint or makeup is non-toxic and appropriate for the skin. Avoid props with sharp edges and make sure your child’s costume is visible to be seen at night.
Stay Visible. Add glow sticks to your group’s outfits and bring a flashlight with you so motorists can see you in the dark when crossing streets and as you walk past driveways.
Don’t text and walk. Put smartphones and other electronic devices away and pay attention to drivers on the road. One social post could ruin your night, so save the photos and updates for when you get home.
Watch where you cross the street. Use crosswalks, traffic signals and street corners when crossing roads. Don’t cross the street between parked cars, as this limits visibility and makes it difficult for motorists to see you. Remember to look left and right to check for cars before stepping off the curb.
Keep kids safe. Children should always trick or treat with an adult. Teens and young adults should discuss their Halloween plans and agree on a time to return home with parents and friends before leaving.
Halloween is one of the most anticipated holidays of the year for kids of all ages. Taking a few extra precautions to keep you, your family, and property safe ahead of time can help make this Halloween memorable for everyone.
 SafeKids.org: https://www.safekids.org/search?search_api_views_fulltext=halloween