Decorating for Halloween is an annual tradition for many families. Before you start installing lights, tombstones, and cobwebs to your home, make sure you know about these nine safety tips.
Use a Secure Ladder When Hanging Halloween Lights on Your Home
Halloween lights can add a spooky element that attracts trick-or-treaters to your home. Unfortunately, you may need to climb a ladder while installing lights on your home. A little ladder safety will help you avoid accidents.
Some of the most useful tips include:
- Choosing a ladder that’s tall enough to extend three feet beyond your roofline.
- Finding a flat, firm location to place the ladder’s feet.
- Fastening ladders to prevent them from falling over.
- Using a tool belt to carry items up the ladder.
- Taking your time while climbing up and down the ladder.
- Wearing slip-resistant shoes.
- Climbing off the ladder each time you need to move it.
Read more tips at the National Safety Council website. Don’t end the holiday before it begins. Stay as safe as possible when you need to use a ladder.
Inspect Decorative Lights Before Hanging Them
For the most part, today’s holiday lights have built-in features that make them safer than the designs from a few decades.
You still need to inspect your lights and follow some safety guidelines, though.
Some of the most important holiday lighting safety tips include:
- Looking for frayed or bare wires.
- Replacing damaged bulbs with new bulbs from the same manufacturer.
- Making sure extension cords stay away from water.
- Turning off the lights before going to bed or leaving home.
- Keeping lights far away from dry trees, shrubs, and other plants that could catch fire.
Don’t assume that new lights are in perfect condition. Always spend a few minutes inspecting them before you put them on your home.
Keep Flammable Materials Away From Fire and Heat
Crisp fall weather feels amazing and puts a zing in the air. The dry air, however, also creates a potential fire hazard.
Even if you live in an area with a wet autumn season, you should pay close attention to fire hazards.
First, you need to make sure you keep all flammable materials away from fire and high heat. For example, don’t place fake cobwebs above a jack-o’-lantern’s candle. Heat from the candle could set the cobwebs on fire.
You can also avoid fires during Halloween by:
- Using battery-powered candles instead of real candles.
- Choosing flame-retardant materials when making costumes.
- Telling children to stay away from flames, even if the flames look fake.
- Keeping dry flowers, cornstalks, leaves, crepe paper, and other flammable objects away from lights, heaters, and open flames.
Add further safety to your home by checking your smoke alarm batteries and clearing exits in case an accident happens.
Leave Pumpkin Carving to the Adults
When it comes to Halloween injuries, many of them happen on the days leading up to the holiday.
Carving a jack-o’-lantern can put your family in the Halloween spirit, but it can also put little fingers in harm’s way. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, knife wounds come in as one of the top two injuries around October 31st.
Make carving safer by:
- Keeping sharp knives out of the hands of children.
- Letting kids occupy themselves with scooping seeds while you cut the pumpkin.
- Using a serrated knife that cuts pumpkin flesh more easily than flat knives.
- Putting away all carving tools when you finish the project.
Every knife presents a danger. Use common sense and caution while carving your pumpkin.
If you don’t know how to use a knife well, consider buying a ceramic or plastic jack-o’-lantern that doesn’t need carving.
Install a Temporary Fence to Keep Onlookers Off Your Lawn
A fantastic Halloween yard will have all kinds of decorations that people can trip over. Whether you set up tombstones on your lawn, or have monsters jump out of the bushes, your yard becomes a trip zone.
Several Halloween supply stores sell temporary fencing designed for the holiday. Designs vary significantly. Some use black plastic to create a basic blockade. Others try to replicate the look of cast iron fencing with spikes and other features.
You can often find temporary Halloween fences for sale at low prices. They’re made of plastic, so they don’t cost much to make.
For the simplest temporary fence, go to your local hardware store and purchase some black safety fence. It may not add much to your yard’s spooky decorations, but it will prevent kids and adults from tripping on your property.
Add Safety Features to Homemade Decorations
Some people love unique, homemade decorations for Halloween. They would never think of buying decorations from a store. Instead, they design and build their own.
Homemade decorations can help you save money, add an air of authenticity to your spooky yard, and give visitors something new to see. Unfortunately, there isn’t a safety organization that checks your designs for flaws.
You can prevent injuries by adding redundant safety features. For example, a guillotine that you build should have a stop that prevents the fake blade from falling to the bottom of the device. That way, a child who sticks his head in the hole won’t get a neck injury.
Always look for places where you can add extra safety features.
Don’t Let Kids Play With Decorations Without Adult Supervision
Even the safest Halloween decorations have the potential to hurt someone. A rogue fog machine could start a fire. A haunted castle’s exterior could fall over. A fortune-telling machine’s glass pane could shatter.
Following safety tips helps keep everyone safe, but you never have any certainties.
That’s why you need to keep a close eye on children and prevent them from playing with decorations without adult supervision.
If you’re a parent, keep your children close at your side. What if one of them gets so frightened that he or she dashes into the road’s traffic? You always have opportunities to improve safety!
Limit the Number of People in Your Haunted House
The most ambitious Halloween decorators make haunted houses in the garages, basements, and homes.
Clearly, you need to pay close attention to all of your haunted house exhibits. Your insurance policy probably doesn’t cover “fell down the stairs after getting frightened by a witch.”
You need to review the safety of everything from your entrances to the water you use while bobbing for apples.
If you ran a business, your local fire marshal would determine how many people could occupy your interior space at once. As a homeowner, you will have a harder time getting the fire marshal to inspect your haunted house.
Still, you need to limit the number of people on your property. With too many people, you make it difficult for visitors to escape fires and other hazards. Too many guests can also make it impossible for you to monitor behavior.
You probably don’t want to have more than 10 people in your home at once. The exact number will depend on your home’s size and how many friends you have helping you.
As a homeowner, your local laws may not require you to post exit signs. You should still post illuminated signs that show people how to leave. Otherwise, you could get a group of scared people pushing each other as they look for a way out.
Manage Car Traffic When You Have a Large Crowd
Some families do such good jobs decorating their homes for Halloween that they attract large crowds. Similarly, some cities have streets with reputations for going all-out on the Halloween holiday. When people know you from all over the city, you can expect a lot of visitors.
As crowds accumulate, you may need to manage car traffic on your road.
Off-duty police officers often provide traffic control services. Hiring a professional will cost a bit of money, but you can absolve yourself of liability and enjoy the evening without fear.
Halloween gives people a chance to enjoy the fun thrill of getting scared. When real disasters strike, though, the fun disappears quickly. Make sure you follow safe Halloween guidelines so no one has a holiday accident.