Legal Responsibilities at Your Halloween Party

Halloween is quickly approaching and you, like many other people, are probably planning to either attend or host a party. Forbes recently published a story reporting that Americans spend $7.4 million on the season, with the average person spending just over $77 to celebrate the holiday.

As the amount of adults who celebrate the holiday continues to grow, it is definite that alcohol is factoring into Halloween’s bottom-line. While the law can vary from state to state, in Illinois it’s important to know what your responsibilities are as a host.

For awhile we have been aware that a bar or other business which serves alcohol can be held responsible if it provides alcohol to a person who is intoxicated. Such laws often referred to as Dram Shop laws, hold the distributor liable for the actions of the intoxicated customer.

But private parties are just that, private. They’re held typically at households where alcohol is served but not sold. So how does the law apply in these instances? Recently, a ruling was handed down by the Illinois Supreme Court in the case of Bell v. Hutsell which increased the burden of Plaintiffs to prove Defendant’s voluntary undertaking.

Still, despite the details of the case, what holds true is that by providing alcohol to your guests, you do take on some liability, especially if those guests are underage.

The main thing to remember about drinking at any occasion is to follow the law and to ensure that intoxicated guests do not leave your home behind the wheel of a car. Call a cab, unfold the sofa-bed, and practice moderation.

Turner & Sackett hope you have fun this Halloween, but we also hope you’ll stay safe.