The role of the Board of Directors in a condominium, homeowner (HOA), or townhome Association is to preserve, protect, and enhance the community. Accordingly, it is important for the Board to keep its members informed and supported. As Autumn festivities begin to pop-up and with Halloween around the corner, the Board of Directors should prepare itself to be the first station of information for its residents.

Board members must understand that everyone celebrates the Fall season differently, particularly when it comes to Halloween. While one resident may consider decorating changing the wreath on their door, another resident may take the opportunity to transform their home into a haunted graveyard equipped with caskets, headstones, and strobe lights. Recognizing that it may be a challenge to reconcile the differing levels of celebration within a single community, the Board should be proactive and craft the Association’s rules, regulations and expectations.

Below are five tips Boards should consider to keep residents informed and make it possible for families to trick or treat safely.

1. Consider setting hours for trick or treating consistent with your local municipality

The idea of setting hours for trick or treating is not a novel idea, but when doing so, it is necessary to consider setting them consistently with the local municipality. If the Association follows this step, it can avoid confusion, misapplication, and complaints along with the need to police trick-or-treaters.

2. Approach decorating reasonably

Board member shouldn’t focus their energy solely on October 31st. The Halloween season provides opportunity for creative decorations that can be a source of pride for homeowners.

If the Association wants to avoid a homeowner from celebrating the Halloween holiday from August to early December, the Board should consider giving community members a window of time when they are permitted to install decorations. A clearly communicated and firm deadline can help ensure that everyone is respected in the process.

3. Lighting and tripping hazards

Your association may consider restrictions on flashing or extremely bright lights if there are concerns about the lights triggering seizures, distracting drivers, or simply preventing sleep. Having rules in place will be helpful – sooner rather than later.

Similarly, animatronic and inflatable decorations require power to operate. However, it is important for walkways to be clear of extension cords and other tripping hazards. Excited trick-or-treaters hurrying from door to door in the dark can easily miss a cord on the sidewalk, especially if they have a mask on. Consequently, the Board may want to consider requirements addressing a homeowner’s cords/wiring usage.

4. Parking and noise

Halloween parties are bound to take place throughout the neighborhood and at different times of the day. Board members should remind residents of the rules on parking and noise levels so that owners understand the Association’s expectations.

5. Enjoy the season!

Holidays can bring the community together. Celebrating the Halloween season can represent a much-anticipated community tradition, especially as a kick-off the other Fall and Winter holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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Janelle Dixon

Janelle Dixon focuses her practice on the representation of Common Interest Community Associations (condominium, townhome, homeowner, Master) in the defense of lawsuits from claims of breach of...

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