Halloween is a holiday that inspires outrageous costumes and over-the-top parties for adults as well as children. If you're thinking of hosting a Halloween party for your friends or colleagues, you need to be aware of the potential legal liabilities associated with hosting such a party.
With social events such as a Halloween party, there are different types of legal liabilities that should be considered. One is the responsibility for damage to property or loss of life. There are possible scenarios in which you may be held responsible for a guest's actions during—or after—your event.
Another type of liability to keep in mind is financial. You're already going to pay for broken dishes or scuffed walls at your venue—but what about damage caused to others' property, or even personal injuries?
Here are a few scenarios to think about before throwing your next costume bash.
Potential Problem #1: Alcohol
If you're going to be serving alcohol at your party, you need to remember that you may be held responsible for your guests' actions. In some cases, the host can be left responsible for a drunken guest's behavior—even if it's after the guest has left the party. For instance, if an attendee leaves the party drunk and causes a car accident, you may be held responsible.
Alcohol may be even more of a liability if you're hosting a party for your employees. Too many drinks can reduce inhibitions and fuel inappropriate or unwelcome advances. Are you prepared to handle a sexual harassment case?
Potential Problem #2: Costumes, Haunted Houses
You can't have a Halloween party without costumes and a spooky atmosphere. While fun in concept, if you're not careful you can open yourself up to liability concerns. Ill-fitting costumes, dark walkways, and startled guests can make injuries more likely.
Most hosts don't realize that if a guest trips in a dark hallway or falls while retreating from a scare in the haunted house, the host may be liable for injuries the guest incurs. When a physical injury occurs on your property, you are usually liable, especially if your actions can be seen as creating or exacerbating hazardous conditions.
A Halloween party is a fun way to relax with your friends or colleagues and celebrate the season. Just make sure you consider any potential ghouls and goblins that may pop up. Happy Halloween!
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