Tricks and Treats

halloweenyAs one half of Team “Jackass” was still trying to figure out her costume for tomorrow night’s festivities, Amy was all over the radio this AM — the Metro Networks, The Wall Street Journal Radio Network and CBS Radio Networks – talking about the various legal pitfalls associated with the holiday we call “gay Christmas” here in New York.

Here are some of the highlights:

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk drivers kill more than three times as many people during Halloween than on New Year’s Eve. Are you liable if your costumed guests drink too much and then get into a car accident? (In a word: YES!)

Emily, your eight-year-old neighbor cuts across your front lawn and trips – maybe on leaves, your plastic skeleton or her own feet.  It’s unclear, but she falls and breaks her arm. Are trick or treaters trespassers or are you liable if a child hurts him/herself on your property?  (You betcha!)

You didn’t realize that some of the candy in your trick or treat dish contained peanuts and a child has a severe allergic reaction, requiring hospitalization. Are you liable? (Not so much, but you’ll probably feel really bad.)

Costumes these days are often crossing the lines in terms of poor taste and indecency. Can you be sued for indecent exposure or costumes that might offend people on racial, moral or ethical grounds? (You can’t be sued, but you could potentially be fired – Happy Halloween!)

Your child plans a Halloween ding, dong, ditch trick on an aging neighbor and jumps out to scare them, resulting in a heart attack. Is your child liable? (No, but remember the Edgar Allen Poe story, “The Telltale Heart”?… The cost of the kid’s therapy is likely going to be greater than any summary judgment.)

Are you liable for your kids’ mischief on mischief night? (You could be! Isn’t parenting fun?!)

Happy Halloweeeeeeeen!

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