There’s no reason children should hog all the fun on Halloween. Who doesn’t love dressing up as a superhero – or villain – or as a monster or a favorite pop culture figure? It’s especially fun when you throw a party for friends and have everyone dress up for a visit to your home.
But if you’re serving alcohol at your party, you always do so with the specter of a lawsuit hanging over the proceedings. Why? Because of the concept of social host responsibility. That means you could be held responsible for the actions of someone who has had too much to drink at your party.
In other words, if your guest leaves your party and is involved in a wreck, you could be held liable for the injuries – which puts you on the hook for medical treatment, rehabilitation, and even lost wages for the person who is hurt. Even worse, your home insurance policy might not cover you in this scenario – you should check your exclusions carefully. Even if it does, who wants to have this happen?
Scared yet at the prospect of throwing a party? Luckily, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of trouble. Consider the following suggestions:
Make keys the price of admission
That’s right, make every guest surrender his or her car keys when they arrive at the party. That will give you the opportunity to check the guest’s condition before he or she leaves the house. If you don’t think the person should be driving, call a cab or ask the guest to spend the night.
Provide nonalcoholic beverages and serve food
Make plenty of food and snacks – the more guests eat, the less room they’ll have for drinks. You can always come up with a Halloween theme for deviled eggs, wings, chili, and other party favorites. Plus have soft drinks, juice, and other nonalcoholic beverages iced and ready for guests.
Establish a last call going in, and make it at least an hour before the party is scheduled to end. You also should set a good example for guests by drinking responsibly yourself. This also will help you when you have to evaluate everyone else. You also could consider having the gathering at a bar or restaurant – that way you’ll have professional bartenders who are trained to decide whether to serve patrons drinks.
However, take great caution in hiring a bartender for a party at your house. That could turn the gathering into a business event, which could further dilute any home insurance coverage for you. Charging for drinks also could present that problem.
If you’re throwing a Halloween party, make sure all the horror is in the costumes – not the aftermath of the gathering. Following these suggestions can keep you, your guests, and others from a nightmare situation. Even if you live on Elm Street, that’s a goal worth pursuing.