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Halloween is a time for tricksters to try out their pranks and scares on the unsuspecting masses. But sometimes, pranks introduce a lot of risk into the picture, whether it’s tricking someone into eating a candied onion only to find she’s allergic, to causing a scare so convincing the police get involved. Having some spooky fun doesn’t need to cause damage or liability, which is why all of us at Brightway Insurance would like to provide some tips for all the tricks so that your Halloween can be safe and risk-free.

Mitigating risk while cleaning up pranks

Removing TP from your trees

Strips of toilet paper blowing on low-hanging branches.

It’s all fun and games until the house burns down.

A very unfortunate incident happened in 2004 when trying to remove TP from a tree ended with the huge loss of a family home. Fortunately, the family’s Homeowners policy covered the loss so they could rebuild in the same spot, and the community came to their support. It’s unlikely the pranksters who tossed toilet paper rolls over those trees intended this outcome. TPing is fairly harmless⁠—it’s the work that goes into removing TP from trees that is hazardous. With power lines and ladders, removing TP can become risky business.
Before you jump into it, here is how to remove TP safely.

1. If the TP is touching or near a power line, call a tree service to help. These professionals are used to working safely around powerlines and may be able to help.

2. Try to get the TP off before it rains. Once it gets wet, it’s much more difficult to remove.

3. Be gentle when pulling the TP off, and if you’re struggling, use a long tool like a rake to help.

4. For those hard to reach places, just pointing a leaf blower that way to loosen up the toilet paper helps.

5. Whatever you do, DO NOT SET THE TOILET PAPER ON FIRE. We cannot stress this enough.

 

Getting egg off the car

Guy in flannel shirt and jeans cleaning car by hosing is down.

As opposed to TPing, car egging causes a lot more damage to a vehicle’s surface than the teenagers pelting a car may realize. We're talking thousands of dollars with of damage in repainting. Shell fragments can scratch the paint and cause it to chip, while the yolk can eat away at the topcoat.

It’s a good idea to hop on the cleaning as soon as possible, and preferably before the sun has a chance to fry those eggs, because once egg has dried, the damage to your car has started.

1. Use pressure from a normal garden hose to blast off as much as you can of the shells.

2. Continue to wash the surface of the car using regular old car wash, giving multiple rinses to ensure all of the eggs are off.

3. Feel around the area where the eggs were to check for scratches that may have occurred.

4. Let your insurance company know in case the paint begins to chip or discolor and you find yourself in need of a repaint. Vandalism of this kind is typically covered under the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance policy.

Filing a claim for front porch fireworks

Man in jacket's hands as he holds a match up to light a firecracker.

We’ve probably all seen at least one kid who thinks it’s funny to light fireworks on someone’s porch. The act can be incredibly dangerous, not only putting people at risk, but also causing damage to the home.

If you’ve found yourself a victim of one of these pranks, one thing to do first is report it to the police. This is some serious vandalism and a fire hazard, which is a prosecutable crime. Also, this probably goes without saying, but if there is a fire, that should be reported too.

Even if nothing catches fire, if there are shells from the fireworks lying around, don't clean them up until you've spoken with the police first. 

While Homeowners insurance won’t cover illegal fireworks you set off, if the damage is from a vandal, then they will typically cover the damage it causes. File a claim with your insurance company.

Now that we’ve walked you through how to undo and address these popular Halloween pranks without taking on liability, consider these harmless seasonal pranks that won’t cause lasting damage.

Low-risk pranks

fake black spiders surrounding a white mug laid out on a wood table.

You can get into the trickster spirit without burning down homes or wasting your neighbors time having to undo your tricks. Here are some fun low-risk Halloween pranks that won’t boost premiums.

If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, this one is really simple—leave a mug on the counter face down with a note – DO NOT LIFT AND LET THE SPIDER OUT. Watch reactions and enjoy the suspense. For added effect, put a fake spider under.
Take toilet paper rolls and cut eyes into them. Put glow sticks in them and stick them in a bush.
Stick a fake spider or snake in your neighbor’s mailbox. Very mean, but, fast recovery time.
For little ones, have them plant a candy corn and water it, and replace it with one of these.

Stay safe this Halloween from all of us at Brightway!