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Can you sue a haunted house for being too scary?

As you prepare your own house for trick-or-treaters, you’re probably thinking about safety. Is there anything to trip over on your sidewalk? Are the pets secured in another room? Is your clown costume too scary this year?

As haunted houses spring up seemingly overnight across the country, you can rest assured that their operators are probably taking safety even more seriously than you are. Most houses are subject to safety codes that require them to be ADA compliant, prevent trips and falls and implement a variety of other safety measures.

But what happens if you or your children get hurt? A haunted house might seem like a lawsuit waiting to happen, with ghouls ready to pop out around every dark turn.

Sure enough, haunted houses across the country have been periodically sued by people injured or traumatized while in the attraction, although it’s not as common as you might think.

Haunted houses appear to win most of these lawsuits, likely because courts find visitors to be assuming a risk when entering. Still, a recent settlement in Michigan suggests that not all haunted house lawsuits are in vain.

Last year, a woman sued a Michigan haunted house, alleging that she’d suffered leg fractures and back and spine injuries after a moving wall in a dark hallway knocked her down. The lawsuit settled last month for $125,000.

Just as you wouldn’t take your kids trick-or-treating in a strange neighborhood without doing a bit of research first, you should make sure the haunted house you’re planning on visiting takes safety seriously. If you’re planning on taking your kids, you might want to give them a safety briefing before you go in and make sure they don’t run.

There are plenty of things to be scared of this time of year, but getting hurt at a haunted house shouldn’t be one of them.

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