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How to prepare for Halloween in an HOA neighborhood

Putting together costumes, choosing which candy you want to hand out, and decorating the exterior of your home are all some of the fun lead-ups to the celebration of Hallow’s Eve-- the spooky celebration more commonly referred to as Halloween. However, if you live in an HOA community, there are a few other things to be cognizant of while preparing for the festivities on the final night of October.

HOA boards almost always include information about holiday decorations in their bylaws, and Halloween is no exception to these regulations. It is important to note that while these rules do sometimes restrict the type of decorations you can have on your house and in your yard during the holiday season, they’re all in place for specific and important reasons. HOA boards are tasked with ensuring that neighborhoods are not only safe, but also clean and visually appealing (even during the holidays.) This is to protect everyone living in the community and the value of their property. With that in mind, here are some things you can do to prepare for Halloween while remaining within the guidelines set forth by your HOA.

1. Plan your timeline.

Very often, there are time constraints on holiday decorations in an HOA community. This means that they cannot be put up before a specific date, and that they also must be taken down before another date. To plan accordingly, ensure that you get this information from your HOA board before planning so that your home is only decorated within the pre- approved timeframe.

2. Be considerate when it comes to noise and light.

Decorations are always fun, but no one likes a disturbance. Sometimes, less truly is more. In addition to not wanting to scare younger children with decor that may be considered “too scary,” lights with rapid flashing could be a trigger for individuals with complications like epilepsy, so keeping things simple is typically better. If your decorations do include sound or light, try to keep the volume on the lower side. Additionally, if they are allowed, make sure any decoration with sound is scheduled to turn off at an appropriate time each night so that they aren’t a disturbance.

3. Pay attention to limitations regarding amount and location of decorations.

The last thing that anyone wants are decorations that obstruct walkways or infringe on the property of others. As you’re decorating, make sure that you are keeping these areas clear. There should be nothing on or around sidewalks, stairs, or other walking areas that could potentially be a safety hazard.

4. Safety always comes first.

On the night that trick-or-treating takes place, the streets and sidewalk are bound to be full of children. For this reason, it is especially important to be diligent in taking general safety precautions. Drive safely and be mindful while parking. If you have lights lining the sidewalk in front of your home, make sure those are working properly so that the area is properly lit. If you’re utilizing candle-lit jack-o-lanterns, keep them away from doorsteps, sidewalks, walkways, and anything flammable.

5. If you have a child planning on trick-or-treating, make sure they are well prepared.

As always, it is also important to protect our children during holidays. If you have trick-or-treaters in your home, try utilizing reflective tape or flashlights so your children can always be seen, even in the dark. Additionally, make sure your child is never trick-or- treating alone. Remember, these are just general tips, and we recommend that you check in with your own HOA board to receive a clear outline of what is and is not allowed in your own community. Happy celebrating!

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