Beware: Don’t Fall Victim to Halloween Claims Nightmare

Beware: Don’t Fall Victim to Halloween Claims Nightmare

Time-Tested Tricks Help Avoid Common Risks

Halloween is one of America’s most-anticipated, festive and favorite holidays. What’s not to like? Little princesses and superheroes trick-or-treating door to door. Costume-clad grown-ups getting together for Halloween parties. Consuming seasonal fare, such as caramel apples, candy corn and spiced cider.

The National Retail Federation predicts that 157 million Americans will celebrate Halloween this year. Total spending will top $6.9 billion; and the average American celebrating will shell out $74 on decorations, candy, costumes and more.

Photo credit: Jag_cz via istockphoto.com

Photo credit: Jag_cz via istockphoto.com

2015 promises to be another fun-filled All Hallow’s Eve, especially since it falls on Saturday. More parties, more trick-or-treaters, and more cars on the road are a sure-fire recipe for more Halloween hazards.

Unfortunately, this haunting holiday brings with it potential risks for children, pets, and property alike. According to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, Halloween comes with a spike in injuries to children, animal-cruelty incidents, and vandalism.

Minimize becoming a victim by putting into play some knowledge to protect your family, pets and property. Following are some tips to help you keep the holiday safe.

Take Heed Little Goblins

The most-common reasons youngsters visit the hospital on Halloween are:

  1. Pedestrian collisions with vehicles.

Sugared-up children and cars don’t mix, particularly when it’s dark outside. To avoid a dangerous accident, a responsible adult should accompany trick-or-treaters. Children should also use flashlights and avoid darting across streets.

  1. Eye injuries from sharp objects.

Pint-sized Prince Charming carries a sword, and adorable Tinkerbell wields a wand. Kids’ costume accoutrements are often sharp and can poke the eyes. When props are necessary, try and keep them soft and flexible.

  1. Burns from flammable costumes.

What do you get when you cross a billowing Batman cape with a lighted jack-o’-lantern? A caped crusader on fire! Make sure costumes, wigs, and accessories are made of flame-resistant materials. Do away with candles and use glow sticks or battery-operated candles to illuminate your carved pumpkin.

Click here for the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Halloween Health and Safety Tips.

Keep Pets Inside and in Birthday Suit

Spooky_catPlenty could go wrong with your pet near Halloween so when possible, keep them inside. Dogs and cats view Halloween as a frightening hodge-podge of trick-or-treaters who noisily shamble house to house, ring doorbells, and pound on doors. Open the door to hand out candy, and your precious pet could dart outside to try and escape the mayhem.  It’s also a time when your pet could fall victim to a Halloween prank or game (Think: black cat+treasure hunt=lost pet.)

Additionally, chocolate, gum, and other Halloween goodies can be hazardous to pets, so make sure candy and other tasty treats are nowhere near your canine counter surfers.

Photo credit: Nadeika via istockphoto.com

Photo credit: Nadeika via istockphoto.com

The Humane Society says that the Top Halloween hazards for pets are escaping and being poisoned. Both animal shelters and veterinarians see a spike in their business during the Halloween season. Keep your furry, four-legged friends in a quiet room, away from all Halloween activity. Even if you have festivities in your home, costumes and masks can be frightening to animals. You don’t want them scared, and you don’t want them biting others.

Lastly, some animals like to “ham it up” by sporting that hot dog or bumblebee outfit. But some are downright miserable, so let them wear their birthday suit.

Park Cars in Garage or Well-Lit Area

An analysis by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) found that personal vehicles are twice as likely to be vandalized on Oct. 31 as on the average day. HDLI reviewed vandalism claims from 2008 to 2012 by insurance companies and found that there were 1,253 Halloween-vehicle claims costing an average $1,528 per claim, for a total average daily cost of more than $1 million per day.

So keep your vehicle out of the line of fire, either by parking it inside a garage or in a well-lit location.

Other costly Halloween hijinks include toilet papering, egging, throwing garbage on homes and vehicles, smashing pumpkins and even spray painting homes. So turn on your lights to deter would-be hooligans. Vandals are much less likely to strike if they think you are at home.

Crawford & Company would like to wish you a safe, claims-free and happy Halloween!

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