Halloween has become one of the biggest nights in the year for licensees and the good news is that this year it is on a Saturday, which means licensees have a great opportunity to profit from the entire weekend.
You may wish to host a family fun day with bobbing for apples, ghoulish games and face painting or an evening event such as a horror movie-based pub quiz, fancy dress or film night. Whatever the event, as well as planning the other aspects, it is important to take the time to prepare and plan the licensing elements of your event, if you are able to avoid any enforcement frights on the night.
Here are some licensing tips to ensure a horrifically good Halloween event:
- Check your premises licence.
- Check your permitted hours and licensable activities are sufficient to host the planned event. Re-view any non-standard timings on your licence, you may find that you have an extra hour or two worth of trade already permitted for Halloween. By the time you read this it will be too late for a temporary event notice (TEN) but if you have overlooked anything you could still apply for a late TEN. Remember a ‘late’ TEN must be with the licensing authority, police and environmental health at least five working days before the event, but if objected to by police or environmental health, it automatically becomes invalid.
- Review the conditions on the licence to see if there are any that impact upon the running of the event. For example, if you have a glassware condition on your licence yet are planning a Halloween-themed cocktail evening, check the glassware will comply with this condition. Also ensure any proposed drinks promotions do not fall foul of the mandatory conditions.
- Remember if you do not have the relevant permitted licensable activities on your licence and want to have disco, DJ or live band outside then the exemptions of the Live Music Act may help you until 11pm.
- Halloween is particularly popular with young adults. Therefore, ensure you have an up to date and comprehensive age verification and underage policy. Make sure all of your staff are familiar with that policy and strictly enforce it, and that any posters and literature relating to the policy are visible.
- If you are hosting a horror-themed film night ensure that not only does your premises licence authorise the showing of films (or you have the relevant TEN) but that you have the relevant other licences required including the correct licence from the distributor to show the film in your premises, eg, a Filmbank licence.
- Consider a written risk assessment. If you are trading later than usual or will have more customers, you may consider using door staff. Also where you have CCTV, ensure it is fully operational and complies with relevant licence conditions. If there will be live music or a DJ and you have residents in the close vicinity, consider monitoring noise levels during the event or a dispersal policy to minimise risk of noise nuisance.
In summary, take the time to properly plan and prepare your event so it is not only a memorable one for customers, but also a profitable and problem-free one for you too.