Most people enjoy spooky activities and outings in the weeks before Halloween, but accidents and injuries make any holiday less fun. With a little planning, the following precautions can keep everyone in the community safe all month long.
Whether you’re hosting the neighborhood haunted house or simply place jack-o’lanterns on the porch, the following tips can help prevent injuries.
- Kids can help scoop out pumpkin goop but let adults do the carving. Or, offer markers to kids so they can draw their own spooky scene on a pumpkin.
- Use a battery-powered LED light inside a jack-o’-lantern instead of a candle. More than one-third of Halloween fires start with a candle, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
- Walk around the property and look for potential hazards, especially those that are hard to see after dark. Consider marking obstacles like exposed tree roots.
- Make sure Halloween décor doesn’t creep into walkways or obstruct corridors and create a tripping hazard for you or your guests. Escape routes should always be clear.
- Avoid highly flammable decorations like cornstalks and dried flowers. If you do use these materials, keep them—and any other decorations—away from heat sources. 44% of Halloween fires occur because decorations are too close to a lamp or candle.
- Don’t overload electrical outlets when plugging in indoor decorations.
- Plug outdoor decorations into ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to reduce the risk of electrical shock. Don’t daisy-chain extension cords. Portable GFCI devices are available at hardware stores.
- Check that all smoke alarms are working.
Walking around in a favorite costume to collect candy is the highlight of every kid’s Halloween. Trick-or-treat safely with these precautions:
- Buy safety pins at the same time you pick out costumes. That way, you’ll be ready to pin capes and other trailing fabric to prevent tripping hazards.
- If possible, consider wearing make-up and hats instead of masks and colored contact lenses. Full-face masks can obscure your vision, and some decorative contact lenses cause eye injuries.
- Test makeup in advance to ensure that it doesn’t cause an allergic reaction.
- Purchase costumes, wigs, or accessories that are labeled as fire-resistant.
- Break character with comfortable shoes, reflective tape, and flashlights or glow sticks. Superheroes would approve, and even monsters like Frankenstein would wear socks with sneakers to trick-or-treat if they could.
- Stick to sidewalks and marked paths. If you need to cross an area without a sidewalk, walk on the side of the road facing traffic and stay as far to the left as possible.
- Remind children to only visit houses or doors that signal the owner is ready for trick-or-treaters. Common signals include a lit porch light or an opened screen door.
- Tell kids not to eat candy until you get home. Then, inspect candy wrappers for tampering and food allergies.
- Avoid checking electronic devices while walking.
- Teach children to make eye contact with each driver as they cross a street or driveway.
- If you drive, watch for children in dark clothing, and pass through alleys and intersections carefully.