Pumpkins haunt grocery store produce sections and parking lots. Aisles of fun-sized candy loom in every convenience store, and homes across America are resurrecting last year’s spooky decorations. It’s almost Halloween—the kickoff for the holiday season. Here are some ideas to keep HOA management under control while starting things off with a bang, or in this case, a BOO!
We all have fond memories of getting dressed up, filling our bags with candy, and going home to devour as much as we can of the loot. But, the fun doesn’t have to stop when we grow up! Halloween can be enjoyable for the whole family.
The start of a new season is the perfect opportunity to send a newsletter to the residents of the neighborhood. Whether you use a digital or paper newsletter or another form of communication for members, it’s a great time to send out some reminders for the upcoming holiday season.
Halloween decorations hit the shelves long before the last day of October. According to the association bylaws, how early can residents put up Halloween decorations? How many days past the holiday can they remain? Twenty days before and after the holiday is standard, but whatever rules your HOA management has in place, clearly communicate them to your residents.
Unambiguous communication helps residents plan, sets the standard for the holiday season, and prevents violations and resulting fines.
Plan and Share Fun Neighborhood Activities
While summer is alive with bar-b-ques and pool parties, fall is a great time for community-building activities. Who doesn’t love apple cider, costume contests, and scary movies? Halloween events bring people together.
Some fun fall events include:
- fall-themed games like bobbing for apples
- neighborhood parade
- a spooky haunted house
- a chili cookoff
- pet costume contest
Update your association calendar with any events as soon as possible so people can plan ahead. Determine the need for volunteers for each event. Use the newsletter, bulletin board, and other forms of communication to put the call out. Some great ways to employ volunteers are with tasks like food production, event planning, decorating, and chaperoning. Volunteering makes people feel more connected to their neighbors and community and gets people in the holiday spirit.
Remind Residents of the Rules for the Holiday Season
Though the holidays are a time for fun, it’s still important to follow rules set out by the association bylaws. It’s the responsibility of an HOA to keep the community beautiful, secure, and harmonious.
Important rules to consider for the holiday season are:
- Decorations should be safely installed, clear of walkways, and well-lit.
- Decorations shouldn’t be inappropriate, violent, or offensive.
- Communicate size regulations for inflatables and other decorations.
- Make it clear where decorations are allowed.
Remind residents that the rules are in place to keep everybody safe and content during the holiday season. Children will be excited trick-or-treating and can easily fall over an extension cord as they race to the front door for another piece of candy.
Make sure the consequences for breaking the rules are clear so members know what to expect. If there are rules in the association bylaws that prohibit certain kinds of decorations, provide alternatives to your residents to help prevent frustration and give them new ideas.
Get Ready for Trick-Or-Treating
Schedule a time for the kids to hit the pavement in search of candy. A window of a few hours ensures all households that want to participate can be prepared. Explain how houses can indicate whether they are participating in trick-or-treating. One way is to leave lights on if you’re welcoming trick-or-treaters, and off if you’re not (or the candy bowl has run dry).
Another considerate thing to do for residents is to set certain times that decorations producing loud noises or shining bright lights can operate. This ensures no one’s sleep is disturbed by noisy decorations. Parents of sensitive, special needs, or easily-frightened children can avoid these times, providing everybody with a comfortable trick-or-treating experience.
It’s never a bad time to share information on how to keep kids safe. Consider adding some safety tips like the following to any announcements, flyers, or digital newsletters.
- Wear fire-resistant costumes.
- Equip children with reflective tape or glow sticks to increase their visibility in the dark.
- Avoid masks, which can obscure vision.
- Use non-toxic makeup and hair dye.
Children are more than twice as likely to get hit by a car on Halloween than any other night of the year. Remind residents to drive carefully and be vigilant. They should be especially mindful of backing in and out of driveways. Encourage parents to supervise children during trick-or-treating to help prevent accidents and other safety concerns.
The holidays are a time for community. As the weather gets colder, the connections between us grow warmer. In the last nine years, homeowners have reported being overwhelmingly satisfied with their HOAs. Continuous communication with members makes an association more responsive to their needs and maintains this level of satisfaction. Hosting an HOA table during holiday events is a great way to get face-to-face time with residents.
Get ready to grab a table and a bowl of candy, and meet the neighborhood! Tabling provides an opportunity to connect with members and more:
- Pass out HOA pamphlets.
- Share a calendar of future events.
- Answer questions.
- Gather feedback.
- Begin and maintain community dialogue.
Operating a table puts a face to the names popping up on emails or the list of residents or board members. A face-to-face connection between board volunteers and residents allows for a more tight-knit community, back-and-forth communication about ongoing issues and projects, and greater investment into the HOA from the community.
How HOA Management Software Can Make Halloween Less of a Nightmare
PayHOA makes HOA management seamless year-round, and Halloween is no exception.
PayHOA is tailored to a homeowner’s association’s unique needs and provides one central platform for members and volunteers.
PayHOA’s unique software has the following features:
- community message boards where members can plan together
- digital newsletter, automated email, phone call, and text messaging capabilities, hands-off printing, and envelope stuffing for physical mailers
- digital calendar to post events
- online pay for dues and fines
- surveys to collect input from the community
Not only is PayHOA great for planning Halloween events, but it’s also volunteer-friendly accounting software! Even board volunteers with little or no accounting experience can manage the finances of the association with this intuitive, user-friendly interface. PayHOA can free up volunteers’ time for a self-managed HOA by automating many timely tasks. For example, members can enroll in autopay for their dues, which prevents the need to invoice and bill residents, process payments, update records, and track down late payments. The ledger is updated automatically. PayHOA takes the horror out of HOA management as an easy-to-use, centralized hub for all the financials, resident records, and communication.