Every year, the challenge to create an eye-catching Halloween costume grows ever more difficult. A decade or two ago, you could get away with picking up a bagged costume at the local party store, call it a day, and still come off looking fun and festive. Today, not so much. In a world where adults spend months planning their get-up, you need to go big if you want to stand out. And what’s true for costumes is also true for haunted houses and other spooky experiences, which have gone from backyard business to major industry in short order. As with any fastgrowing industry, plenty of companies in this space put profits over the safety of their guests.
When you attend a haunted house, you expect to leave with an elevated heart rate and some cold sweat but certainly not any permanent damage. The art of a good haunted house, after all, is that the threats feel real without being so. However, if a business is unscrupulous in their practices, they may dole out actual terror along with the simulated kind. To avoid an actual catastrophe, it’s important to remain vigilant and not suspend all your disbelief.
Before you go to a haunted experience, do some research. Due to the seasonal and upstart nature of many businesses in the space, it’s all too easy to end up at a place that’s less than professional. You probably wouldn’t go to a restaurant that’s been set up in an abandoned house on a makeshift basis, and you should treat haunted experiences with the same common-sense skepticism.
Once there, it’s incredibly important to read the waiver. Usually, haunted houses are described as either “touch” or “no-touch,” relating to whether the performers have permission to make personal contact with the guest. No matter the nature of the experience, however, Halloween companies still have the same legal duty to create a safe environment as any business does. When they fail to do so, they can be sued under premises liability law.
If you leave a haunted experience with real injuries, call Finney Injury Law 314-293-4222 to find out how we can help.