Halloween homeowners insurance

You're probably making last minute touches to costumes today and wondering if you should buy more candy for trick-or-treaters.

While it's exciting to dive into the lighthearted and candy-filled side of the holiday, it's also important to take a moment to consider the darker side - the one with pranks and other potential issues for homeowners. It's unlikely you'll have any problems, but it's best to be prepared to avoid needing to make a call to your homeowners insurance agent tomorrow morning.

Use these tips to keep you and your home safe this Halloween:

  • Have a well-lit walk way. Children, their parents and possibly their grandparents will be coming up and down your path all night. Make sure they can see where they're going and won't trip over decorations.
  • Keep your house lit after trick-or-treating is over. Once the kids are safely tucked in bed, mischievous teenagers can attempt to egg or toilet paper houses. Turn on a few lights inside and outdoors to prevent becoming a target.
  • Avoid candles. It's fun to have a dim and flickering atmosphere on Halloween, but stick with orange bulbs on the porch or fake candles in the jack-o'-lanterns. Real candles increase your risk of fire or someone getting burnt.
  • Don't overload outlets. Other atmosphere-creating devices like fog machines can be entertaining. They can also be a bit much for your electrical system. If you're going to use novelty equipment, don't put too much stress on one outlet, and avoid using an incorrect type of extension cord.
  • Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If you're having a party or you choose to use a few candles in the house, check that your safety equipment is working properly. Also, make sure to have a fire extinguisher on hand.
  • Keep your pets away from the front door. Even if you think your cats and dogs are friendly, they may react poorly to unfamiliar children in costumes. Halloween is a good night to keep them in their kennel or limit them to another area of the house.
  • Lock your windows and doors at the end of the night. Halloween brings out many people in your neighborhood - some you'll know and others you won't. Before you head to bed, double check that the house is locked up tight and any security system you have is armed.
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