As Halloween shortly approaches, excitement is sure to be rising in your community. Is your HOA, Condominium or Community Association ready? Halloween is meant to be a fun festivity to dress up, get some delicious treats, and get spooked (or spook others). However, ensuring compliance while encouraging community members to have a great time is often a nightmare for the association staff and managers. Here are some tips to implement so that your community has a fun and safe Halloween!
Safety is top priority
Safety of your residents and staff members should always take top priority over everything else. Inform your residents beforehand of tips to stay safe:
- Stay away from harmful or inappropriate decorations – Although inappropriate decorations can be subjective, harmful isn’t. Any type of lights or yard items used should be kept out of walkways so neighbors won’t trip and injure themselves on yours or the resident’s property. Furthermore, the decorations shouldn’t be harmful to look at or listen to.
- Neighborhood watch – It’s important for children to be attended to at all times. Adults should accompany children while trick-or-treating. Community management can even request volunteers to serve as chaperones to lead young trick-or-treaters.
Ensure resident compliance
Every association will have its own rules in place on Halloween decorations and neighborhood decorum. As we’ve highlighted in our blog post last year, associations will need to keep in mind noise, lights, and resident sentiments when making the rules. Generally, appropriate decorations may include carved pumpkins with bulb lights (the best bet), spider webs to place on bushes, stuffed animals, scarecrows, signs, and non-flashing lights. The best way to ensure compliance in your neighborhood is to remind everyone of the rules, refer to it in your governing documents, and explain why those rules are in place.
Organize a Halloween-related event
Community or neighborhood parties are a great way to get your community members together and strengthen relations. Some activities you can include for your neighborhood parties are fun games for children, teens, and adults; costume contests; talent shows; joint trick-or-treating; haunted houses; and potlucks. You can request volunteers to assist with event planning, hosting, chaperoning, food preparation, or for other activities. There are many ideas at your disposal to bring your community together this Halloween, but make sure that the finer details of each activity is compliant with community bylaws and state laws.
Be considerate and fair
There’s often a thin line between consideration and fairness that has to be managed. Compliance with respect to decorations can be difficult because what one finds to be appropriate may not be likable for another person due to various reasons. What constitutes as damaging to property, and thus community values, and what doesn’t is another consideration to make. When enforcing rules, it’s important to be considerate of other’s sentiments and convey that message to the residents. If association bylaws do not permit large, flashy figures due to a potential decrease in property value, then provide alternative suggestions or set a time limit that the decoration/figure can be on the property (no more than two weeks, for example).
All said and done, you want your community to have a good time and for your management/association team members to manage issues/violations effectively. Surely, it is a tough balancing act, but effective bylaws and communications with residents will make the job easier! Encourage everyone to have fun and remind them to be safe and considerate. We wish you all a happy Halloween in advance!