We hope that everyone has a safe and fun Halloween here in Philadelphia and throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania, especially this year. Because of COVID-19 things are looking a little different, including the cancellation of popular Halloween events across Pennslyvania such as the suspension of the Terror Behind the Walls haunted tours event at Eastern State Penitentiary.
There has been a lot of debate about whether or not to allow Halloween trick-or-treating in Pennsylvania this year. Counties across the state are deciding which Haloween activities should carry on and which should be cancelled. Many areas are leaving it up to residents to decide whether or not to participate.
The CDC recommends avoiding high-risk activities such as participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed out door to door. Instead, communities can consider moderate risk activities such as one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while maintaining social distancing. A lower risk activity could be to carve or decorate pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends.
As of right now, the state of Pennsylvania is allowing trick-or-treating to take place, keeping in mind that proper social distancing protocols must be followed.
Here are our tips for trick or treating during COVID-19:
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 property from possible 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 2020.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 2020, 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) 486 3820. Although, we prefer that your Halloween week be silly and scary, but most importantly safe for all of you.