Halloween is right around the corner, and many churches are active in trying to figure out how to best capitalize on the holiday to get people on their campuses. It can be a great time to provide a family-friendly and not-so-scary alternative to what's roaming the streets. It is also a good time to invite the community to your campus and show the world that Christians aren't that weird after all. Nevertheless, with such activities often comes risk to the church, a topic Managing Attorney Josh Bryant is keenly familiar with.
Are you doing a Halloween Hay Ride? What about Trunk-or-Treat? (One church that we work with routinely has over 2,500 people on campus in a two-hour window for Trunk-or-Treat.) Are you doing a haunted house that depicts hell? All of these things have inherent risks associated with them. Someone could fall off the hayride and break a leg. A child could be kidnapped from your Trunk-or-Treat celebration. A participant in your haunted house could have a heart attack. In each case, your church could be liable.
While this isn't designed to spook you out of doing these spooky events, churches should be aware of the risks and make a calculated decision on whether to attempt to shift the risk back to the participant. There are ways in which this can be done through liability waivers, indemnity agreements, and assumptions of risk. However, these documents must be meticulously drafted in most states before the courts will even consider them.
We have videos in our client only area about liability waivers. Subscribe to Church General Counsel today and get help drafting the first of many liability waivers that Josh Bryant has experience setting up. Your church will not regret this extra level of legal protection. If you want to talk to Josh Bryant before subscribing, use the button on any of the pages of this website to schedule a video conference with him.
Church General Counsel Managing Attorney Josh Bryant, J.D., M.Div., authors most of the posts in this section. From time to time, he will post articles from others in the field of church growth, administration, and operations.