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Keep treats, avoid the tricks!

By Jay MacDonald · Bankrate.com
Friday, October 28, 2011
Posted: 9 am ET
Credit: Andre Koehne

Photo credit: Andre Koehne

Next Monday, all sorts of mayhem may test the limits of your homeowners insurance, auto insurance, health insurance – and BOO!, maybe even your life insurance! I’m talking about Halloween, of course, lest you were thinking Occupy Wall Street.

On the hideously disfigured face of it, Halloween ranks second behind the Fourth of July as the annual holiday most likely to end in an insurance claim. I mean, you have kids on a sugar buzz in cumbersome costumes with limited vision staggering willy-nilly through darkened neighborhoods while motorists come and go, ferrying even more kids and adults to public and private parties, some of which involve alcohol. What could possibly go wrong?

In the interest of safety, if not your auto insurance and homeowners insurance rates, the folks at the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America present these tips for a casualty-free All Hallows' Eve:

  •  Don't go all Addams Family: Remove or move lawn furniture and other obstacles and clear off your home's entry and walkways to avoid accidents and injuries on your property.
  • Contain the flame: Keep pumpkins containing candles well away from costumed children, or consider battery-operated lights instead. But sure to extinguish all candles before going to bed.
  • Mind your madness: All costumes should be made from flame-resistant materials and shouldn't be too long or contain sharp accessories. Avoid masks that may obscure vision.
  • Shine a light: Encourage trick-or-treaters and chaperones to carry flashlights. Apply light-reflecting material to costumes.
  • Don’t be a scary driver: Drive sober, slowly, and watch for running children and your auto insurance rates won't come back to haunt you.
  • Must … have … brains! Like zombies, travel in groups and cross only at corners and crosswalks, never between parked cars. Stay on well-lit streets.
  • Scare off unwelcomed guests: Halloween is a favorite night for property vandals. Keep your outdoor lights on or your homeowners insurance rates may suffer the consequences.
  • No night for pet fright: Warn your children to stay away from animals as they go door-to-door. Halloween can be a stressful event for even the friendliest dog or cat.
  • Sugar Buzz 101: Halloween is no night to test your health insurance. Inspect all children's treats, never eat unwrapped items and collect candy only from those you know. Throw away any suspicious candy.

Here's wishing you and your family a safely wicked and bewitching Halloween!

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