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Hi everyone!

I know we all put in a lot of work every year to our props and haunts. So how do you protect yours?
 

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Is that protecting it from a liability sense, if someone gets hurt? I have a couple posted that just say enter at own risk. Owner not responsible for injuries, blah blah blah. If it is protecting it from vandalism, I have a security camera set up on the house anyway, but for more than 20 years we have had nothing damaged or vandalized, except we had a condom placed on our witches broom one time.
 

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We're still growing our outside decorations, so all we've done is bring in that which we really didn't want to have taken. Whether someone would or not, I don't know, but those props not worth losing come in overnight.

However, when we open the house up to the public, that's a different matter entirely. What we've done so far is to "employ" my kids, kids' friends, and some of our friends to help watch people as they move through the house. So far, other than keeping people from touching stuff they we'd rather they didn't, the worse issue we've had were some kids trying to lock one of them into the bathroom.
 

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If you also place on the sign the fact that there may be tripping hazards or such then it should cover you. Make sure the sign is large enough to read and well lit. The biggest part in liability is that you need to keep your property as safe as you can. That isnt just for Halloween but all year long. If a delivery driver delivers something to your house and trips on something or slip on something like ice or an oil stain in your driveway you can be held liable for injuries.

The other thing we do the night of Halloween is myself or one of my older sons that is there for that night will stand guard outside to keep kids from running or horse playing in ways that might get them hurt. It is all about doing the best you can to insure the safety of the people that come to see your haunt.
 

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Now on the other hand to protect your haunt from idiots, I run thin wire from one end of the cemetery to the other, back and forth just above my fence. I have signs at each end of the yard. They simply say "Warning" that's all. No one has messed with my cemetery since I put it up. It puts doubt in their minds to to what it is. Seems to work well.
 

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We felt a lot safer once we built fencing for our graveyard. It's just pvc, but still works to deter someone from just running up into the yard and wrecking something. We installed security cameras on the front of the house last year too and I posted signs warning of them at each end of the front yard. We have never had any issues, but a few years ago some kids ran up into a neighbor's house a block behind us and destroyed a bunch of xmas decorations.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I like the idea of sign saying Enter at your own risk. As for my props I'm thinking about getting cameras this year. I know there are some wireless ones. I hate to think someone would steal or vandalize my stuff, but....... Maybe a sign that says you are being watched?
 

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Is that protecting it from a liability sense, if someone gets hurt? I have a couple posted that just say enter at own risk. Owner not responsible for injuries, blah blah blah. If it is protecting it from vandalism, I have a security camera set up on the house anyway, but for more than 20 years we have had nothing damaged or vandalized, except we had a condom placed on our witches broom one time.
A social guest or licensee occupying your premises with your implied or express consent is still owed a reasonable duty of care. While each states tort laws are a little different, there are a few things you should be doing to protect yourself. First, putting up signs is a great idea especially in areas where there may be an unsafe or dangerous condition. Even with signs, if you have an "inherently dangerous" condition present that you knew of yet failed to take adequate measures to repair, you may be liable for injuries sustained even if you did post signs (especially in comparative negligence states like NY which do not completely cut off liability even when the guest is negligent). If you have a dog that has attacked guests before or has a propensity to snip, if you have a crumbling stoop, step or walkway, or maintain any other inherently dangerous condition like live wires or boards with rusty nails sticking up, you may very well be liable for your guests injury. This is especially true when you have minors that are unaccompanied by their parents or legal guardian.

Moreover, some states may factor in whether or not your haunt is commercial in nature which may result in you as the host needing to provide a higher level of care to your guests. While there has been a legal trend to treat all guests equally, I would avoid conducting any transactions on the premise while you have the general public at your haunt.

Common sense controls here: as long as you do not maintain any hazards you should be fine.
 

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Same here, everything out that afternoon and back in at 10. We put up a few "teasers" in the 2 weeks leading up to Halloween, props and projections in the porch and windows, but nothing outside. We installed security cameras a couple of years ago, so maybe we will try putting out a few things early and see how it goes. Cameras or not, once the damage is done there wouldn't be much hope of recourse so there won't be anything going out early that we are not willing to lose.
 

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We only have hay bales, scarecrows, and pumpkins out until Halloween.

Halloween is when we set up most things. My husband dresses like a mad scientist and sets up a table in the driveway with bottles, cauldrons, and some flicker lights (and gets a fire going if it's cold out). He hands out candy, comics, and hot cider. A lot of our neighbors have told us that they look forward to our house because they think it's so cool that he does it. It just happens to serve the extra purpose of having someone right there watching to make sure no one is going into the display area.

As for around the display, we put up shepherds hooks and hang plastic chain on them to form a fence. It works to keep people out. We put a solar light at the base of each hook so that it's well lit and everything goes behind that fence. We always take in the projector lights and more expensive props on Halloween itself, but leave the rest until the next day and have never had anything go missing or messed with except that one year we had a pumpkin smashed a week ahead of Halloween.
 

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Nine years ago when I first started (year we bought our house) I actually chained a $60 prop (my most expensive) to my porch for fear of theft. Larry the Zombie (an underrated ground breaker) that Target (I think) was selling for $25 last year). Never in nine years has anything been stolen or intentionally damaged. Last year I probably put out almost $10k worth of props and didn't worry about it. That being said, Halloween night around 11 I take in everything I would be really sad to lose, just on the off chance you get a few drunk teenagers who don't know better.

Now I live in a really safe (if high traffic) neighborhood (and city/region), and my front yard has elevated retaining walls, so the only even negligible risk is wayward youths (of which I was one).

Weather of course is a more existential threat. And on some level a massive loss of props might free me from the tyrannical yoke of my Halloween display. But as I can't even put out 1/3rd of my props there's little hope there.
 

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I use a three-prong approach to security. The first is to mount cameras where you have a clear view of the streets. I have four cams because I live on a corner and the views are both directions of both streets. Don't waste your time mounting cameras that show the props or house. All you end up with is video of someone in a hoody taking your stuff, and cops can't use that. What they need is a vehicle description and tag number, and if something disappears some night you check the video from that night and get the info.

Second prong is to go to a home store and buy some Doberman window alarms. These are about $10 each and about the size of a Pringles can lid. Turn it on, slide it in the prop, and if someone tries to make off with it the alarm sounds a 100db tone that's stop most any thief in their tracks.

The third prong is a GPS tag. These are about $15 and allow you to track and locate your prop if it's taken. $25 for an alarm and tag isn't free, but when you're talking about one-of-a-kind props that are worth thousands of dollars, it's cheap insurance.
 

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Up and down every day/night is Impossible for many of us. It takes a whole month for the yard to even come together. My "magic" is that the neighbors love driving by starting on Oct 1 and seeing it slowly come to life. Then we have a big show for 2 nights the week before halloween. The first thing I put up is the modular iron fence. So that sets the tone.... do not enter. The smaller things come out next over the course of the first week. And then the big guns the second week. The third week is fine tuning the set and then the show. No way am I setting and striking an entire set every day.

Anything I am a bit concerned over I train the deer cam on. The only things that come in every night are the projectors and speakers.

It helps that I am self employed and can rearrange my schedule quite a bit to be not only home but also awake very late. And my husband is a cop so he can drive by or have his squad drive by through out the night.
 
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