By: Nelson Smith on October 18, 2016
Ah, Halloween. The only day it’s acceptable for regular people to dress up like clowns, zombies, or superheroes. Well, except for Comic Con.
Even though law enforcement personnel are extra vigilant during that night, there are bound to be both kids and adults who feel the need to pull Halloween pranks. Some are harmless, like tossing toilet paper over a tree. Others, like throwing eggs at someone’s house, have more potential for damage and are a pain to clean up.
Stay at home
Many people decide to go out on Halloween, choosing to be pretty much anywhere other than at home handing out candy to a bunch of kids with terrible costumes. Dealing with trick-or-treaters is annoying, and, depending on your neighborhood, you might give out $50 or $100 worth of candy.
I can see why people get annoyed with the whole process.
But if you’re serious about protecting your home, you’ll not only want to stay there for the night, but you’ll also want to make sure everybody knows you’re around. Turn on your porch light, your living room light, and maybe a few bedroom lights as well. Let the place shine as bright as you can make it, and you’ll discourage the egg throwers and toilet paper artists.
This will be beneficial to the 99% of kids who don’t want to cause any trouble too. Lighting up the way to your door will ensure nobody trips or suffers any other injuries.
Give out good stuff
Halloween is sort of like an institutionalized form of blackmail. Kids won’t egg your house in exchange for getting free candy. It’s not a fair arrangement, but you have to put up with it.
This means that you’re stuck giving out something kids want to eat. Don’t try to elevate yourself to a higher level and give out apples. Those apples probably won’t come back at your door once you close it, but on Halloween, why take the chance?
Get a motion sensor
Many of the older kids wait until everyone is asleep on Halloween night to pull off their shenanigans. This makes sense; if there are fewer people around, they’re less likely to get caught.
Good thing there’s a way to combat this without keeping your lights on all night. A motion sensor will go off when somebody gets near your door and that should be enough to scare off any potential trouble makers.
For years in my small town, local kids raising money for various school events offered Halloween insurance.
For a low premium of say $20 — businesses paid more, obviously — the kids would take on the responsibility of cleaning up after any eggers, toilet paper artists, or apple throwers. It offered peace of mind, and if it turns out the insurance premium was paid out for naught, at least a homeowner can feel nice about supporting a good cause.
So ask around; I’m sure somebody in your city is offering Halloween insurance.
Keeping your home safe during Halloween really comes down to one thing — light. As long as you keep your home and yard well lit, you’ll protect both yourself and others from those who go bump in the night.
2020 has been an interesting year for several reasons—the continuing coronavirus issues being a major contributor. With Halloween around the corner, different municipalities and states will be recommending various safety measures to try and keep everyone as safe as possible… but you can be sure many people will be choosing to celebrate Halloween in one way or another this October 31 st .
Halloween is a favorite holiday among many—children get to dress up and collect candy, and teens and adults alike enjoy dressing up for costume parties and contests, hunkering down on the couch for scary movie marathons, or handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.
There’s plenty of harmless fun to be had for all, but Halloween also tends to bring out more mischief than most ordinary nights. This may be especially true for Halloween this year—with everything going on the in the country (and world), plus the fact that Halloween falls on a Saturday, we may experience more property damage and crime than usual.
Some problems arise from poorly-executed Halloween pranks that can cause injuries or damage property, while other issues stem from vandals and thieves taking advantage of the general atmosphere Halloween creates.
Halloween Crime Stats
Home Burglaries: Insurance claims for property and goods stolen from homes on Halloween night are up a massive 60% when compared to other non-holiday nights.
Home Vandalism: Insurance claims related to homes being damaged and vandalized over Halloween night jump about 20% according to aggregated data from major U.S. insurance companies.
Car Vandalism: Cars are almost twice as likely to be vandalized on Halloween night vs. any other non-holiday night of the year, and
Car Theft: Car thefts are up about 5% on the last day of October.
Protecting Your Property: Deterring Burglars & Vandals
If you’re going to be out and about—whether taking your children trick-or-treating, enjoying dinner out, or gathering with friends—be sure to take extra care to deter and prevent would-be criminals from damaging and/or stealing your property while you’re out enjoying the holiday festivities.
- Be sure the outside of your home is well-lit. While it is common to turn off your porchlight to signal that you’re not handing out candy, it can also signal to burglars and vandals that you might not be home—while this might confuse kids who are excited to get candy, it’s worth the extra protection to your home and valuables.
- Make it look like someone is home. Leave some lights on in the house and leave your TV on to help make burglars think twice before attempting to break in.
- Clean out any vehicles you’ll be leaving out in your driveway or parked on the street while you’re gone. Or, at least store valuables out of sight.
- Arm your home security system to sound if anyone breaks in to scare them off before they can steal anything of value or do more damage to your home, while also alerting you and/or the authorities.
General Halloween Safety Tips
Aside from property damage and theft to your home and/or vehicle(s), there’s also a higher chance of being a victim of other crimes on October 31 st —including pick-pocketing, assault, had harassment. This is especially true in larger cities and crowded areas of towns where people gather to celebrate and roam the streets.
So no matter whether you’re planning on having a night in or going out and enjoying the holiday festivities, be sure to exercise a little more caution that usual when possible to help reduce the chances of becoming a victim this Halloween. Lock your doors, keep your perimeter well-lit, and stay vigilant—just because some people get carried away, it doesn’t mean you should be fearful—just be aware and smart.
If you don’t have a home security system, or your system is out of date and could use some improving in the East Texas area, give 3D Security, Inc. a call today to discuss your situation. We’d love to hear from you and help you keep your family, home, and property safe during the upcoming holidays!
While there may not be as many kids in Halloween costumes roaming your neighborhood this year, it still may be possible for a scary visitor to show up on your front doorstep looking for a treat. While trick-or-treating has been a long-standing tradition for many, it does bring about some risk for homeowners.
Here are some things you should keep in mind this Halloween.
1. Be vigilant against an increase in property crime. Ghouls and goblins may not only be scouring your neighborhood for candy, they may also be looking for other things they can get their hands on, including wallets, purses, and other valuables. Theft and vandalism increase significantly during this time. If you’re handing out candy from your front door, make sure your garage is closed and locked. If you’re sitting in your driveway handing out candy, keep an eye on your property as well as your neighbors’ homes. If you notice anything suspicious, consider calling your local police.
2. Don’t forget to blow out the candles. As we approach the holiday season, lighting candles may be a part of your everyday routine. If you have children carving pumpkins, placing a candle inside may be a family tradition. However, when it’s time to call it a day, don’t forget to blow
them out. Or instead of using real candles, consider using battery-operated ones. Lastly, never leave candles unattended. A pet’s wagging tail or a small child could easily knock them over. For additional candle safety tips, click here.
A homeowners policy does provide coverage for fire damage. If you live in an apartment, it’s important to have a renters policy. Usually, the building is covered by the landlord’s policy. However, to get reimbursed for the loss of your personal belongings, you’ll need a renters policy.
3. Always keep your cars locked. Never keep valuables, especially your keys, in an unlocked car. Recently, our neighborhood experienced a series of thefts involving unlocked cars. Also, never keep your social security card in your wallet or purse. Keep it stored in your home, preferably in a safe with other important documents.
4. Take precautions with decorations. Halloween decorations have become more popular in many neighborhoods. Unfortunately, improper use and installation could lead to personal injury as well as property damage. Here are a couple of claims scenarios.
Claim Scenario 1
Darth Vader comes to your door with his good buddy Yoda and trips over an extension cord for your giant inflatable pumpkin in the front yard. Darth Vader and his light saber go flying. While Yoda tries to use the force to break his fall, he’s unsuccessful. Unfortunately, Darth Vader falls to the ground and breaks his arm. Because this is an accident on your property, you’d be responsible for his injuries. Fortunately, his injury would be covered by the personal liability coverage in your homeowners insurance policy.
Claim Scenario 2
This Halloween, your goal is to have the most decorations in your entire neighborhood. Extension cords are running everywhere, and your outlets are beyond their load capacity. As neighbors are enjoying your decorations, sparks begin to fly and your home catches on fire. Luckily, the fire is contained quickly, and you only experience $5,000 in property damage. Again, a homeowners policy will provide coverage for your damaged property.
5. Watch out for pedestrians. Excited kids looking to find their favorite candy may not necessarily think about safety and how to cross the street. As a driver, it’s up to you to stay alert and slow down if you’re going through a neighborhood during trick-or-treat hours. In addition, it would be wise to stay off your mobile device and focus strictly on driving.
6. Be on the lookout for vandals. Being dressed in a costume may give some the confidence to damage your property. When I was a kid, someone dumped oil on our porch as a prank. That was a huge mess for my parents to clean up. Watch for stolen decorations, eggs on your home or car, and toilet paper.
If something does happen, remember, before a claim payment can be made, you’re responsible for paying the deductible. If the items damaged or destroyed are less than your deductible, don’t file an insurance claim.
Lastly, on a regular basis review your insurance policy with your agent to make sure you have enough coverage to protect you all year round.
For additional safety tips, check out the blogs below.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them. Please share them in the box below.
This article is intended for general educational and illustrative purposes only and should not be construed to communicate legal or professional advice. Further, this article is not an offer to sell insurance. Please consult with your licensed insurance agent for specific coverage details and your insurance eligibility. All policies are subject to the terms, conditions, limitations, definitions, and exclusions contained therein.
Halloween can be frightfully fun, but nothing can put a damper on the holiday more than becoming the victim of a Halloween prank. Here is how you can make your house prank proof this Halloween season:
Light it up
Keep your porch lights (and even some interior lights) on for the duration of the night, even if you are going out of town. Vandals are less likely to target the home of residents who are at home. Alternatively, consider installing motion sensor lights that activate with any movement. These can be a great investment in the long run, as they allow you to fall asleep while decreasing your electric bill and knowing that your lights can still scare away vandals.
Hide your vehicle
Park your car in the garage instead of on your driveway. If your car is inside, vandals can’t access it. If you don’t have access to a garage, consider parking your vehicle behind your home instead of in front, or ask a neighbor if you can borrow their space for the night. Halloween pranksters often egg cars as they drive by.
Pretend you’re not home
If you don’t plan on handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, then don’t answer the door if anyone comes knocking. Answering the door without any candy prepared will give pranksters and bitter trick-or-treaters the green light to retaliate. Keep your windows covered so criminals (or even curious peeping toms) can’t see inside your home.
Don’t make yourself a target
Don’t participate in any pranks. If you have children, be sure to let them know that pranks can be serious crimes, and they are not to discuss or take part in any pranks on others’ homes. You and your family shouldn’t give off the impression that you think pranking is funny.
Out of sight, out of mind
Don’t leave loose yard decorations or items lying around outside. If it isn’t secured, then it could possibly be broken or stolen. Also, don’t leave your pumpkins outside at night. A common Halloween prank is smashing pumpkins outside of people’s homes. If you keep small possessions and jack-o-lanterns out of sight, then pranksters won’t think to target your home.
Wash away the pranksters
If you think you may become a target for vandalism, set your sprinklers on a timer to go off at random during the night, or stay alert and turn them on when you hear someone lurking near your home. Vandals wouldn’t bother targeting a house that has their sprinklers going off. Who would risk getting soaking wet while TP-ing or egging a home?
Host a Driveway Candy Station
If you do want to hand out candy, set up a station in your driveway or on the street/sidewalk outside your home. This will prevent others from walking too close to your home and will allow you to keep an eye out while still having fun and participating in the festivities.
Halloween should be fun, but not too scary. You can still enjoy the holiday without feeling afraid that your home will be at risk of vandalism. Utilize these tips and tricks so your night will be full of treats.
Halloween is the season of autumn leaves and apples; candy and costumes; parties and pumpkins. Unfortunately, Halloween is also the night when the risk of drunk driving, vandalism, and burglary are slightly increased. If you’d like to decrease your chance of being a victim of Halloween vandalism, read the following tips to ensure that your Halloween is filled with more treats than tricks:
Many vandals target cars for pranks such as egging, saran wrapping, or spray painting. Depending on the area in which you live, you have three options to best protecting your car.
- Basic Precaution: If you usually leave your car doors unlocked, you may want to lock your doors on Halloween night. This simple action can deter would-be troublemakers from planting stink bombs or stealing your CD’s
- Minor Alert: Maybe you live in an area where you park on the street. Street-parked cars can be targeted for drive-by egging or spray-painting. Protect your car by parking it in your garage overnight. If you don’t have a garage, simply moving your car behind your house or leaving it at your office can prevent a messy situation. Remember, as with most things, “out of sight” equates to “out of mind.” If vandals can’t see the target, there isn’t one.
- Code Red: In the case that the first two levels of protection aren’t enough, comprehensive insurance protects your car from theft, fires, and general vandalism, like spray painting. Check with your provider to see what coverage you currently have.
Halloween vandals target lawns for pranks such as toilet papering or putting forks in the yard.
- Basic Precaution: When you pass out candy, sit on your porch rather than sitting inside. Tricksters will be less likely to bother your lawn if they know you’re watching them. Also, you can invite your neighbors over to pass out candy to make the evening more fun. What child doesn’t like extra candy?
- Minor Alert: Installing motion sensor lights around your yard is a good investment any time of the year. In general, if you’re coming home at a late hour, having the extra lighting around your home is convenient and increases your security. On Halloween night, the lights could scare off vandals who don’t want to be caught in the act.
- Code Red: Play your own trick by hiding behind a tree in your yard and spraying vandals with the garden hose.
Since Halloween night brings a slightly increased risk of theft or burglary, you can protect yourself with the following tips.
- Basic Precaution: If you usually leave your children’s toys outside overnight, be sure to bring them in on Halloween night to prevent theft.
- Minor Alert: Perhaps you’re someone who doesn’t want to pass out candy on Halloween. Shutting off all noticeable lights and pulling down your blinds can prevent attacks from trick-or-treaters who may be angry that you aren’t participating.
- Code Red: Install a house alarm. Like motion sensor lights, investing in a house alarm system increases your security and can scare off would-be burglars from robbing your home.
If in any capacity the Halloween “tricks” or “pranks” become threatening or damaging, never hesitate to call the police. The following tips are good precautions, but you should use common sense if a situation turns dangerous.
9 Ways to Prepare & Protect Your Home on Halloween
Trick-or-Treaters are gearing up, which means it’s time to prepare & protect your home on Halloween! While you can have a great time handing out candy to little witches, ghouls and goblins this year, remember that safety should come first. More visitors than normal will be knocking on your door, and not all of them want treats. Here are 10 ways to prepare & protect your home on Halloween:
- Trick or Treat? Once the rush of little ones begging for candy has started to die down, be a little more cautious about opening your door. If you have a peep-hole, use it! Once you’re done passing out treats, turn the front porch lights out or leave a note on the front door stating that you are out of candy to let strangers know not to approach your home.
- Bowls of Candy It might seem like an easy way to avoid answering the knocks and doorbells, by putting out a bowl of candy, so kids can treat themselves. This can actually cause more traffic to your porch, as word gets around that you’re offering a free-for-all of sweets. Although it might be unlikely, vagrants and misfits will be more likely to hang out longer.
- Light It up Creating a scary and spooky atmosphere can be a lot of fun, but, it also welcomes vandalism. Light up your walkway and darker corners of your home and yard. Keep your back porch lights on, as well. Not only will you create a safer place for innocent kids to trick-or-treat, you’ll be spotlighting anyone up to no good.
- Security System If you aren’t settling in for a night of scary movies and visits from trick-or-treaters, double check your security system. Vagrants and vandals will use this night to have some fun of their own, and will target unoccupied homes much easier, when they are less secure.
- Cut out Candles Those fun jack-o-lanterns are a staple to this holiday. But don’t forget that the wobbly toddlers and sugar-infused children visiting your home don’t have the same respect for fire that you do. Consider using battery-powered tea-lights, or glow sticks instead. You’ll rest easy knowing that the decorations on your entry way and the children’s costumes can’t catch fire.
- Welcoming Walkway If you have steps or stairs, be sure they are in good shape. Railings should be secure for those little ones and their parents, walking to your front door. You’ll create a safer environment, and be sure that visitors don’t permanently destroy the railing or wooden steps you’ve been avoiding fixing.
- Clear a Path If you have hoses, children’s toys or planters sitting in your walkway, move them back or put them away. Create a welcoming, but safe path to and from your front door. If you have automatic sprinklers that come on at night, turn those off. Anything that can cause slipping or tripping needs to be eliminated to protect your visitors and your home.
- Protect the Pets Keep your pets, no matter how calm they are, inside your home. If you are opening the door frequently, put them in another room or secure back yard. Not only could they scare children, the kids could frighten them and cause unanticipated reactions.
- Lock the Car Your vehicles need to be protected, as well. Make sure you park them in the garage and double check that they are locked. If you don’t have a garage, shine a spotlight in the general area where you park the car, or make it easily visible from a window. Halloween pranks can turn dangerous, and you don’t want your vehicle to suffer!
Make sure you keep your home secure from fire and damage this Halloween. Invite visitors with caution, and create a safe environment for them to enjoy the night with you. Prepare & protect your home this year!
All of us at Fixd Repair hope you have a safe and happy Halloween!
Flour-flinging bands of hoodlums roamed the streets of Washington, D.C., on Halloween in 1894, casting so much flour on personal property that “some of the streets looked as if there had been a fall of snow, and the pedestrian who reached home with his garments uninjured considered himself fortunate,” the New York Times reported. Such incidents of “rowdyism” still occur every year on Halloween, although the authorities have stepped up the enforcement game a bit–police in Charleston, W. Va., will be patrolling the streets this year with night-vision goggles and thermal-imaging equipment, looking for vandals lurking in the darkness.
Minimizing darkness by keeping your property well-lit is the best preventative measure for homeowners concerned about the risk of an egging, a toilet-papering, a pumpkin-smashing or a mailbox-bashing, Jim Pasquill says. Pasquill oversees security as part of an Anti-Vandalism Task Force in British Columbia’s School District 42. Comparing vandals to cockroaches, he says, “Normally, the types of people doing these things don’t want to be seen doing it. If they want to egg a house or write something nasty on the outside, they’re going to look for a house that’s not well-lit. That’s where they can get away with it.”
So let’s just assume they do get away with it, the punks. In the best possible scenario, you’ve called their parents, who promptly dispatch the offenders to clean up the mess. More likely, you’ll have to do the dirty work yourself. Here’s how to clean up after the Halloween mayhem.
Toilet Paper in the Trees
Quoting an expert about the damage toilet paper can do is difficult–multiple toilet paper manufacturers decline to admit that their product could be employed in any way other than its noble, intended use–and even landscape contractors grow cagey when offering advice. “Get out what you can before it rains,” recommends a representative of Country South Landscape Service in Atlanta, Ga. Would one use a rake to do this job? “Yeah, or a long pole. There’s no special way of doing it, just get it,” he says. When asked to identify himself, the man hung up.
Toilet paper victims are more willing to speak on the record. Mark Roper, an employee of the New York City Opera and also a onetime landscaper, woke to find his parents’ lawn “rolled” on a few occasions in the late 1990s. “If you just start yanking on it, it tears, and then you have all these little pieces up there,” Roper says. To get those bits down, “The best way I found was to basically take a pool cue, tie a candle to the end of it, and reach up with the flame to light the strands on fire.” Roper cautions against using this method on branches near the house and power lines, but adds that “the way the toilet paper burns, it’s probably not going to catch anything on fire. And the ash is so tiny, you don’t even have to clean that up.”
For homeowners wary of lighting trees ablaze and also a little tentative about scaling a ladder with a rake, there’s always the old hose and nozzle. Though it contradicts the advice of landscaper No. 1, water can be used to get down errant strands, says a third landscaper, David Whittaker of Atlanta’s Chatham Landscape. Using a nozzle set to a concentrated beam, “just spray portions where the toilet paper connects with the limb,” Whittaker says. “It’ll fall off, theoretically.”
Egg, Pumpkin, or Paint on the House
Bruce Schneider, a paint expert and marketing manager with paintbrush manufacturer Purdy, offers a series of remedies for any type of organic stain. Take the egg, for instance. First, Schneider recommends sponging cool water onto the front and back of the stain, allowing water to soak in and “loosen the egg.” Next, gently scrub the egg with a soft nylon brush, adding as a cleaning agent a solvent-free, protein-based stain remover like Clorox Stain-Out or Motsenbocker’s Lift-Off No. 1.
If that fails, Schneider recommends mixing 1 teaspoon of a mild pH-balanced detergent (nonalkaline, nonbleaching) with a cup of lukewarm water and blotting the spot. Then, mix 1 tablespoon of household ammonia with a half-cup of water and blot the spot again. Sponge it with clean water, then dry with a clean cloth. “Always test these cleaners on an inconspicuous area,” Schneider says, to make sure the surface won’t be further damaged when the cleaner is applied.
Cleaning off paint, such as graffiti is a bit trickier, but Motsenbocker has a Lift-Off product formulated for that as well. This item, No. 4, “doesn’t distinguish between types of paint,” says Motsenbocker’s Patty Ducey-Brooks, so prepare to repaint the entire area. Many types of solvents can remove paint–lacquer thinners, industrial degreasers, our old pal methylene chloride–but this product merits a specific mention because it’s water-based, biodegradeable, and generally easier to deal with than stronger chemicals. Unlike a solvent, which melds with the paint as it works, the Motsenbocker formula breaks the molecular bond between the surface and the paint, producing a solid paint chip that flakes off, to be thrown away.
Some light-colored paint or ink graffiti can be concealed by simply priming and painting over the damage. Porous brick and concrete often need the pressure-washer treatment. Pasquill of the Anti-Vandalism committee, whose paint crew has “vast experience” cleaning acts of graffiti, says “it can get fairly complicated, depending on the material or substrate.” Pasquill does have one universal recommendation, though–“clean it quickly.”
Mayhem at the Mailbox
The feel of a Louisville Slugger connecting with a plastic mailbox, the explosion of envelopes, the shattered parts flying all over the yard–it’s a scene too hilarious for many teenagers to resist, federal crime or not. For a homeowner, the best defense is a bulletproof box.
We offered up several mailboxes that can take a beating in a recent issue, and our readers had a few comments as well. One rural mail carrier recommended filling an old tire rim or a 5-gallon bucket with concrete, setting the post into it, and then simply picking the thing back up whenever it was knocked over. A more sinister solution came from another carrier in New Hampshire. His advice: Fit a smaller box into a bigger box, like a Russian nesting doll, then fill the gap between the two boxes with concrete. “Imagine the surprise a bat-wielding vandal has when his bat connects with the sturdy concrete-lined mailbox,” the reader writes, adding that he’s sure the results would “cause his teeth to vibrate.”
For homeowners wanting teeth-rattling protection without the work, the Lehman catalog offers the World’s Toughest Mailbox, a “virtually indestructible” 29-pound box made of “ball-bat-splintering 1/8-inch welded steel.”
Among the catalog’s primarily Amish readership, is there a particular need for a tough mailbox? “I don’t want to make it sound like we’re surrounded by vandals, but I know it happened to a friend of mine,” Lehman’s vice president of marketing, Glenda Lehman Ervin, says. The friend has since upgraded to the World’s Toughest. “It’s working fine so far, but it’s only been a few weeks,” Ervin says.
Of course, if your main problem isn’t baseball bats, but teens who stuff neighborhood mailboxes with eggs, you may want to remove your mailbox temporarily. Or, put it under pumpkin surveillance.
Let’s just hope your home makes it through Halloween weekend without getting pumpkined, egged, rolled or, worse, covered in flour, 1890s-style.
Halloween is the one time of year when the rules we learned growing up don’t apply. When Oct. 31 rolls around, there’s no need to call ahead before visiting someone’s house…and kids are actively encouraged to take candy not from just one stranger but dozens and dozens of strangers.
It is always fun to dress up and indulge in sweets but stay smart and prepare for the ghosts and ghouls that will come your way. Buying candy and carving pumpkins shouldn’t be the only thing on your to-do list this Halloween.
With a little preparation and the right protection, you can help prevent any mishaps, and avoid an insurance claim. Accidents that happen on your property during the spookiest day of the year are a liability risk for homeowners, so it’s important to review your policy and make sure you have enough insurance. Follow the tips below to ease any potential fears this Halloween.
General Safety Precautions
Halloween is the biggest night of the year when children with costumes potentially limiting their vision and movement will be walking across your property in search of some delicious treats. With an increased number of visitors near your home, someone could easily get injured. Take simple steps to prevent that from occurring by:
Picking up anything in your front yard, sidewalk, stoop or porch that someone could trip over.
Turning on your outdoor lighting, so kids can see where they’re going.
Using battery-powered lights in your jack-o’-lanterns instead of wax candles so if anything gets knocked over, no one gets burned and your property avoids damage.
Placing matches, lighters and candles away from the reach of children or pets.
Keeping pets away from the front door on Halloween night while trick-or-treats are in and out.
Purchasing decorations with safety certifications such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories).
Keeping your home, garage, yard and car locked and outdoor areas well-lit can help prevent theft.
Driving with greater caution. Remember, kids in costume can be hard to see and may be roaming without their parents, meaning they are more likely to dart into the street without warning.
Crime-related insurance claims spike on Halloween. This predominantly includes sharp increases in theft, both inside and outside the home as well as vandalism.
With so many people out on Halloween night, many people often drop their guard when they should be even more vigilant. While most folks are trick or treating for candy, thieves may also be on the prowl looking for more valuable goodies, such as a pair of sunglasses, USB cords or smartphones left in your car. If you don’t have an updated personal property home inventory, now is a good time to do so.
Some may even take it a step further with their Halloween pranks and cause property damage. It is important to keep in mind that comprehensive auto coverage would cover any vandalism to your car, not your homeowner’s insurance.
In the unfortunate event you do experience damage this Halloween, contact your local Farm Bureau Insurance® agent immediately or report a 24/7 by calling tel:1-800-799-7500.
With Halloween being the second-largest commercial holiday next to Christmas, many neighborhoods go all out with decorations to see who can have the scariest display. These intricate LED-light shows and skeletons and are certain to draw screams, but can also be hazardous as people cross your property.
If someone injures themselves by tripping over your decorations, you could be liable. While this kind of lawsuit doesn’t happen often, it is not unheard of and as a homeowner, you need to consider premises liability. The medical portion of a typical homeowner’s policy usually covers injuries on your premises up to the coverage limit but we advise reviewing your policy carefully to determine whether you have adequate insurance.
It is important to pay attention to the types of decorations you have to make sure they’re safe for all parties involved. Strobe lights may cause seizures for people with epilepsy and fog machines can cause asthma attacks for people who have asthma. Be mindful of food allergies as well; if you’re handing out a treat that contains nuts, ensure the recipient is aware of the ingredients.
Taking an extra bit of caution and common sense to reduce risks will keep the day after Halloween less of a nightmare for everyone involved. Make the necessary preparations now so all the scares will be in good fun.
Halloween’s origins trace back more than 2,000 years ago in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when the boundary between the living and dead was blurred. On Oct. 31, ghosts returned to earth in search of food and comfort, while more sinister spirits enjoyed a night of mischief.
Not a lot has changed since.
While most folks will wear costumes and indulge in a little too much candy, others will endeavor to wreak havoc.
Sharp Spike in Vandalism Claims
Many Halloween-related pranks are on the harmless end of the spectrum, like toilet-papered trees or smashed pumpkins. But it’s also when some insurance companies see an uptick in vandalism claims, such as broken windows and smashed doors.
In the three days surrounding Halloween, Travelers Insurance saw a 22% increase in crime-related home insurance claims from 2011 through 2021, according to Joe Meisinger, Chief Underwriting Officer and Head of National Products for Personal Insurance.
Compared to the average number of homeowners insurance claims reported daily, in the three-day period between Oct. 30 and Nov. 1 Travelers sees claims increases of:
- 2% on Oct. 30 (also known as “Mischief Night” in some regions)
- 16% on Oct. 31 (Halloween)
- 46% on Nov. 1
If you’re planning a Halloween party, make sure your home’s location is not included on social media, says Meisinger. That can help keep away unwanted guests who might want to vandalize or rob your home.
And if you plan to go out for the evening, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your property, suggests Meisinger. Security systems and motion-triggered lights are a good way to reduce vandalism and theft.
Halloween Is a Popular Holiday for Car Thieves
Halloween was the fifth biggest holiday for stolen cars in 2019, according to the most recent data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
In the last seven years of NICB’s stolen-vehicle data, Halloween typically lands in the top three spots for car thefts on a holiday. In 2015 and 2016, the most car thefts occurred on Halloween. The lowest number of car thefts on Halloween was in 2012 with 2,053 thefts, which was the fifth most that year.
Drunk Driving Plays a Role on Halloween Traffic Fatalities
While drunk driving crashes have fallen by a third in the last three decades, about 28 people die every day from drunk driving crashes, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2019, 28% of traffic fatalities were caused by drunk driving.
Halloween usually has an uptick in drunk driving fatalities, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. There were 172 people killed in drunk driving crashes on Halloween between 2011 and 2015, an average of 34 deaths each year.
Halloween is the Deadliest Day of the Year for Pedestrians
Halloween is one of the most kid-friendly holidays on the calendar. An estimated 41 million kids between age 5 and 14 went trick or treating in 2019, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau. That seems like a pretty solid participation rate, considering there were 49.5 million kids in the U.S. between the ages of 6 to 17 that same year.
But with all those kids (and adults) out on the streets, the risk for car accidents involving pedestrians increases. Between 2013 and 2017, the two deadliest days for pedestrian deaths were Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 (after midnight on Halloween), according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Children are more than twice as likely to be struck by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). The NSC offers the following safety tips for pedestrians and motorists:
- Put your electronic devices down. Keep your head up and walk (don’t run) across the street.
- Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.
- Carefully enter and exit driveways and alleyways.
- Watch for children in dark clothing in the evening.
- Discourage young, inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween night.
Insurance Coverage for Halloween-Related Claims
Halloween-related incidents can be costly. From stolen cars, vandalized property and injuries, you’ll likely need a mix of insurance types to cover potential losses. Here are a few coverage types that could come into play.
Even the most cautious and watchful property owners can wind up being the victim of Halloween pranks. However, certain types of homeowner insurance and auto insurance typically cover such damages. Here’s a look at some of the most common pranks and what type of insurance may cover them.
Your automobile is vandalized with eggs/shaving cream/pumpkins.
If you can easily remove the mess with a car wash, you probably won’t reach your deductible. However, if your car receives more extensive damage due to vandalism, you should be covered by your automobile insurance as long as you have comprehensive coverage.
Your home is vandalized.
Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies provide coverage for vandalism. There will usually be a deductible before your policy starts to pay, but if you suffer expensive damage to your home or possessions you will be financially protected.
Your home is burglarized.
If your house is burglarized on Halloween, your homeowner policy will cover theft of any belongings as well as any damage that occurs because of the break-in. In this case, your deductible will apply. Remember that the burden falls on you to establish proof of ownership of the items that were stolen, so make sure you have receipts for all expensive items.
Quick Tip: If you decide to go out on Halloween, turn on the inside and outside lights of your home. This simple tip may deter pranksters from vandalizing your property.
Want to learn more about what is and isn’t covered through your homeowners and car insurance policies? Contact Justin here.