We hope that everyone has a safe and fun Halloween here in Philadelphia and throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania. Because of COVID-19 things are looking a little different now, but popular Halloween events across Pennsylvania such as the Terror Behind the Walls haunted tours event at Eastern State Penitentiary have been able to once again reopen.
Is Trick-or-Treating Allowed This Year?
The CDC still recommends avoiding high-risk activities but has okayed traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed out door to door. With the opening up of the country due to steadily rising vaccination rates communities can resume trick-or-treating. It is still recommended that precautions are used such as individually wrapped goodie bags for families to grab and go, maintaining social distancing or wearing a mask when this is not possible.
The state of Pennsylvania is allowing trick-or-treating to take place, but still reminds it’s residents to be mindful.
Here are our tips for trick or treating during COVID-19:
- Avoid trick or treating in large groups, only go with your household
- Wear a mask that covers the mouth and nose if you are going to be with six feet of others
- Keep your distance from other groups when going from house to house
- Use hand sanitizer frequently while trick or treating, and wash hands when you get home
With safety at the forefront of people’s minds, it is important to understand PA trick or treat laws to keep your little ones safe, but also to protect your home from possible property liability issues.
Scares, trick-or-treating, and pranks are keys to Halloween fun, but when people get startled, they might get injured or injure somebody else. That’s especially true for children and teens. That’s why you might want to learn a little bit about Pennsylvania premises liability law. Along with anybody who comes onto your property trick-or-treating, you’ll want to keep your family safe too during the fright fest.
Below are a few things parents of trick-or-treaters and homeowners should be aware of when it comes to trick or treating in Pennsylvania in 2021.
What Type of Visitors Are Trick-or-Treaters?
The law in Pennsylvania classifies people who come onto your property as invitees, licensees, or trespassers. Invitees are there for a commercial purpose. You might have invitees at your home if you run a business out of it, ie. a home hair salon. Licensees are social guests. However brief their visit, Halloween trick-or-treaters are typically categorized as licensees. If you’re giving out treats, you’re allowing visitors onto your property for that purpose. If you’re hosting a Halloween party at your home, your guests would also be licensees. Then there are the trespassers. Those are the people who have no permission to be on your property.
Licensees vs. Trespassers on Halloween
For purposes of the safety of the general public, most municipalities in Pennsylvania set trick-or-treating hours. In Philadelphia, Halloween’s start time is recognized as 6:00 pm. Although frequently during a Saturday or Sunday trick-or-treating happens from the afternoon into the early evening. They often end sometime before the sun goes down. In this way, it deters older teens from being out causing troubles. There is no official trick or treating age limit law in Pennslyvania, although generally speaking 14 years old is considered the cut-off.
Any trick-or-treaters coming onto your property before or after these specific hours might be classified as trespassers.
The Duty of Homeowner’s to Trick-or-Treaters in Pennsylvania
Assuming that you’re permitting trick-or-treaters to come onto the property you own or occupy, there’s a duty incumbent on you to keep your property in a safe condition. That’s because trick-or-treaters expect your property to be reasonably safe. If a trick-or-treater or party guest is injured by a dangerous condition on your property that you knew or should have known about, and you failed to remedy or warn of that condition, you could be held liable for damages.
A Homeowner’s Duty to Trespassers During Halloween
Since a trespasser would be on your property without your consent, you need only avoid willful or wanton misconduct towards that person or persons. That would be characterized as a reckless disregard for the trespasser’s safety. If a trick-or-treater or party guest is injured on your property it must be determined whether he or she was a licensee or a trespasser to establish liability.
Safety Tips on Halloween From An Experienced Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer
We don’t want to see you or your kids haunted by a serious Halloween injury that was caused by the carelessness of somebody else.
- Make sure that the young ones wear bright clothes
- Cross the road at marked crosswalks
- Stay on sidewalks when going from home to home
- Try to avoid costumes that hang low for potential tripping, or masks that cause low visibility
And as a homeowner protect yourself from liability, make sure that your walkways and premises are safe for trick-or-treaters too.
When it comes to Halloween 2021, if you or one of your family members is indeed injured as a result of the negligence of somebody else, either call us or email us to arrange for a free consultation and case assessment or call (215) 557-8686. Although, we prefer that your Halloween week be silly and scary, but most importantly safe for all of you.