By: Beth Mulcahy, Esq.
I love Halloween! It is one of my favorite holidays of the year. It’s only October 18th and I have already placed colored lights outside and have decorated our front door with a banner, scary door hanger with noises, a skeleton, pumpkins and a black cat. My children (ages 8 and 9) love all the decorations and, hopefully, so do our neighbors (LOL)!
However, sometimes our firm receives calls from clients regarding help on enforcement of “over the top” Halloween displays. For example, the kind of displays that are visually unappealing, make noise 24 hours a day and disturb even “Halloween-friendly” residents.
Associations can take steps to prevent Halloween displays from getting to the point of going “overboard”. First, associations should check their rule-making authority in their documents. Assuming that the rule-making authority is broad, below are some possible rules an association may consider to help maintain the aesthetics of the community and still meet the “spooky” needs of owners.
- Regulate the duration lights and decorations can be displayed. For example, the Association could pass a rule stating lights are allowed one month prior to the holiday, and must be removed one month after the holiday (for more minor holidays such as Halloween, there may need to be a shorter time period);
- Regulate the sound and music associated with holiday lights and decorations. While some Owners may want to set the holiday lights to music or sound, the Association could prohibit the use of sound that could be heard from neighboring Lots.
Before an Association considers adopting any Rules or Regulations, the Association should carefully look at its governing documents to adhere to the proper procedure for adopting Rules or Regulations. Please feel free to contact our firm if you’d like help with this process.
Everyone at Mulcahy Law Firm P.C. hopes that everyone has a safe and fun Halloween!