Of course, you can! But first, let’s get one thing out of the way. Are you planning on charging admission to your haunted house? If the answer is yes, your homeowner’s insurance most likely won’t apply and you will have to seek out separate haunted house insurance since that’s technically a business.
This article is for our homeowners that want to have a ‘skele-ton of fun’ by hosting a free haunted house on their residential property.
Sneak a Peek at Your Home Insurance Policy
Before you invite the neighborhood in for a Howl-o-ween treat, review your current homeowner’s insurance policy. Pay close attention to the liability portion to ensure you have an adequate degree of coverage. Unsure of what that may look like? That is what your insurance company is here to answer. Contact to ask them their professional opinion on the matter. Medical bills can rack up quickly if anyone accidentally gets hurt and home insurance can help if you prepare in advance if you are ‘scareful’ how you use it.
Creep it Safe
You will likely be designing and creating your haunted house in the light of day so that you can safely hang everything, arranging the lighting just so, and do you address every single detail. But also make sure you take the time to go through it just as you plan to have your guests experience it so that you can look for possible safety hazards. It may also be a good idea to have a guest with a fresh set of eyes, that is on the lookout for latent dangers to go through it as well to double-check that not only is the scare-factor there but to ultimately help eliminate the chance of an accident.
Common things to look out for include:
- Tripping hazards- ensure all cords, props and floor coverings are on level ground. People walk differently when they are being cautious through a haunted house so making sure everyone has a clear path through is key
- Lighting misses- it will likely be dark in your haunted house, so making sure there is enough light to enjoy the haunted house that you have spent so much time on is important, you also want to make sure your guests know exactly where they are going, and how to get there without being hurt
- Sharp objects- whether they are props or possibly a weed whacker you have stored in your garage that is now doing double-duty as a haunted mansion, keep any and all sharp objects away from the people who will be enjoying your haunted house
- Slip and fall- bad weather, mutant slime, fake blood or even spilled food can quickly become a slip and fall risk to a perfectly safe haunted house. Tour your haunted house right before you open it to the public to ensure there are no slip hazards. If the weather has the chance of turning wet, non-slip rugs or mats may just be the ticket
- Malfunctioning props- there is always the chance that something you have engineered for Halloween may malfunction. That’s just the way things go sometimes. Have a contingency plan to remove it or be able to disable it if it is creating any type of imperilment for your guests
- Exposed protrusions- this includes mannequin arms, cemetery archways, just your run-of-the-mill protrusions you find in a driveway or garage. Your guests will be of all shapes and sizes, in an unfamiliar area, intentionally scared. Do everything you can to make sure they don’t hurt themselves by being hit or poked with a protrusion in your haunted house. Good rules of thumb include 3 ft wide, clear walkways and 7 ft high head clearance
- Carbon monoxide- this can include any generators, fog or smoke-making machines. This effect is a very popular one, just make sure that if you have enlisted any of these, that there is proper ventilation and you may want to go the extra step of installing a smoke/CO2 detector in your haunted house to prevent the possibility of that risk
- Too scary- yes, we said too scary. The reason you want to avoid this is that people act unpredictably when they are too scared and in order to have a fun, safe haunted house experience, you want to be able to predict the enjoyability and not just the shock factor
Most parents and their children know what types of candy they should avoid if they have any underlying allergies, but beware because homemade treats or items that have been removed from packaging can be a recipe for disaster. Transparency is usually best. Even if it doesn’t quite fit the aesthetic, leave the wrapping on any candy you plan on serving, or place an ingredients list by any handmade treats that you have whipped up for the occasion. You can also do a quick reconnaissance mission throughout the neighborhood to ask which treats their families enjoy or if there is anything specific you should avoid to keep everyone safe and that your haunted house is ahead of the ‘carve’.
Some haunted house keepers have even started to shift the focus away from food to be on the safe side and instead have begun handing out prizes like silly putty, temporary tattoos, bubbles or card games.
Sugary treats will always be the rage around this time of year, just be proactive and think ahead of how to make your haunted house a breath of fresh ‘scare’.
It is a Halloween fact that getting scared in a safe environment is a huge part of this fun season, and if you are the one in charge of this amazing feat, do yourself the favor of safeguarding your home, family and friends against any uninvited disaster scenes. If you’ve got it, haunt it. Just make sure it’s got the modern coverage it deserves by calling your Hippo professional, not yet a Hippo customer? You can give us a call 24/7, or get an instant quote in less than 60 seconds. Now, let’s pumpkin spice things up this Halloween.