Fifty years ago, decorating for Halloween was not the all-encompassing activity it has become now for many Americans. Decorations existed and were purchasable at stores, but the sheer number of electronic and large-scale ghosts and witches just didn’t exist. More and more real estate is given over to these accouterments, and trick or treating is becoming more dangerous because of it.
For many children, trick or treating has become an obstacle course. First, they must safely cross streets and navigate neighborhoods to find the sources of delicious candy. Heavy traffic and drunk drivers make this more dangerous than it used to be, as adults and college kids have turned Halloween into a drinking holiday in many places. But even once they find a house that is handing out goodies, they still have to make it to the front door.
People handing out candy must make sure that the environment is safe for children. Considerations include:
- Making sure any decoration that is plugged in or battery-powered is safe, with no fraying of extension cords, faulty bulbs, or corroded batteries that could be a fire risk or pose other health hazards
- Making sure the path to and from the door is suitably clear of debris, clutter, and decorations for children to be able to safely navigate, paying particular attention to extension cords that pose a tripping hazard
- Making sure the environment is properly lit, so that trick or treaters can see where they are going safely, and can see any changes in elevation or other hazards
Sadly, many people are more focused on getting the exact right look for their yard and neglect safety entirely. If your child was injured while trick or treating, it is important that you contact an experienced attorney quickly before changes in the scene make it difficult to determine exactly what went wrong.