Prepare Your Yard for Trick-or-Treaters

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This one is for tenants in two-flats, rental houses and other small buildings. Even if you live in a big building that isn't likely to get trick-or-treaters, some of the tips below may still apply.

In most cases renters will let their landlord or property manager handle cleanup of their building's front yard. However, many renters have landlords who live far away. Even landlords who live on site may not care about how clean or safe the yard is.

On Halloween though, there will probably be small children (and lawsuit-happy parents) walking through your yard for the first time. They may not come up to the door, but they'll still have to pass through your lot on the way to another house. Nobody wants to see kids get hurt, nor deal with the rent increases that will come out of a slip-and-fall lawsuit. It might be worth a few minutes to go out and make sure your yard is safe for kids even if you don't own the building where you live.

Some of these things you can do yourself. You may want to ask your fellow neighbors or your building manager for help with others.

  • Walk up and down all sidewalks in front of your building and on the path to the front door. Make sure there are no trip hazards such as extension cords or pebbles. Remember that trick or treaters may have limited vision.
  • Cracks in the sidewalk can't really be fixed in a day. However, you can put up little warning signs next to them just like side streets have warnings for speed bumps.
  • Make sure there are lights on all sidewalk areas.
  • Look up at any trees. If you see dead branches, bring them down.
  • If there are any stairs leading up to the front door, make sure they are in decent condition. If you know they get slippery you may want to put up a little temporary sign as warning.
  • Clear up any dead leaves that could be slippery
  • Check for and clean up any dog waste in the yard.
  • Cordon off any areas that shouldn't get foot-traffic (such as newly planted grass, freshly poured concrete and open sidewalk gratings) with caution tape or string.
  • If you live in a building with a someone who has been convicted of sex offenses against a minor, remember that Illinois law (720 ILCS 5/11-9.3 c-2) prohibits them from handing out candy. They may be required to keep the lights off, avoid decorations and remain indoors. If this is the case you should still consider clearing the sidewalk.

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Published by

Kay Cleaves