First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys, full of cold winds, long nights, and dark promises.
Days get short. The shadows lengthen. The wind warms in such a way, you want to run forever through the fields, because up ahead, 10,000 pumpkins lie waiting to be cut.
It was the October of my 12th year when the seller of lightning rods came along the road toward Green Town, Illinois, sneaking glances over his shoulder.
Somewhere not far back was a terrible storm. Even now, on those special autumn days, when the air smells like smoke and the twilights are orange and ash grey, my mind goes back to Green Town.
In our minds, this extract from Ray Bradbury’s “Something Wicked Comes This Way” perfectly describes the sense of wonder that Halloween brings out in all children and adults alike. A day to explore the deepest and darkest corners of your imagination, and best of all, not be judged for them (as long as they are legal of course).
In the spirit of Halloween, you’ve outdone yourself with the scream inducing decorations. You have perhaps bought out entire sections of the candy aisle so no child goes away empty handed. But, aren’t you forgetting something? There are many aspects of Halloween decorating and wearing costumes that can be dangerous. In all the fun and festivities it is very important to do everything you can to make this Halloween safe and accident free for you, your home and all those trick-or-treaters coming to your home. Why spoil the fun this Halloween with an accident that could have been so easily prevented. We’ve put together some easy but important home safety tips that you can follow to make your home a safe haven for all those goblins, witches and mummies who come visiting.
1. Follow Fire Safety:
Lights, or the lack thereof, is an excellent mood setter but if not dealt with carefully, present a dangerous fire hazard. You do not want a “make-believe” haunting turning the tables on you.
2. Jack-o-Lantern Safety:
- Avoid candles and live flames in your Halloween decorations. It is safer to use LED or battery operated candles. But, make sure they are not in contact with anything flammable like paper or cloth. If it cannot be avoided, make sure candles are not left anywhere unattended and be sure to blow them out when leaving the house or before going to bed.
- Use glow sticks for an extra special, extra eerie, green and glowing haunted house look. This is very useful if you have children around and will be an instant hit (remind you of Green Lantern much?) These are very easy to buy – check out the local party supply or a discount store.
- Use decorations, costumes, and accessories that are made with flame-resistant, flame-retardant, or non-combustible materials. Check instructions before buying.
- A big no-no to open fires. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. You never know when that carved pumpkin decides to turn into smoking torch. You definitely do not want that as a decor.
- Get your home smoke alarms tested before Halloween and reduce the chances of fire damage.
Talking about Jack-o-Lanterns catching fire, let’s talk about some safety tips concerning these pumpkins.
3. Electrical Equipment Safety:
- It is best not to let your children use sharp carving knives. Keep an eye on them while you’re carving. If they insist on helping, let them draw the patterns or poke the flesh in after you are done carving.
- Use LED or fairy lights inside pumpkins instead of a candle. Unattended Jack-o-Lanterns lit by candles can easily be tipped over by people and cause costumes or other flammable items to catch fire.
- If you really want to use candles then place it inside a small dish or tuna can to avoid a fire if the candle tips over.
Props such as lights, fog machines, audio and video whatchamacallits are perfect to create the perfect haunted house look but make sure to follow some simple checks for a disaster free zone.
4. Keep it safe outside:
- If using Halloween lights, keep all the electric cables safely out of the way of curious little hands. Check decorations before use. Cracked, frayed, or bare wires may cause electric shocks or start a fire.
- Check package instructions: If a package of lights says that they’re only for indoor use, don’t use them outside.
- Read the fog machine directions. Take care when decorating with things you’re not familiar with.
Halloween should be about fun and not about having a fall and landing yourself or your guests in the hospital.
5. Keep it safe inside:
- While using props, make sure to secure all the hanging, dangling, draped, staked, or set props. Tape down loose wires with duct tape to prevent people from tripping on them.
- Keep it well-lit. Yes, we know flickering lights and darkness are a Halloween must have but we also do not want anyone falling face down on the way to your door. Make sure people can see clearly after dark – use Christmas lights to light up the walkways and path to your door. Make sure your porch light is working properly.
- Make sure you leave enough room for people to walk to the door without bumping into decorations.
- Clear the area around your home. Put away anything that could cause a child, or an adult to trip and take a fall. It would a good time to get rid of that pink flamingo from your yard!
- Make sure you are winter ready this Halloween to prevent any accidents related to slipping on ice. Use Heated Walkway Mats or the Heated Stair Mats to provide a warm (literally) and accident free Halloween.
- Make sure scary props that pop up and scare trick-or-treaters are safe. Use rubber or fake alternatives to the real deal.
- Pet proof your house for your pets as well as your guests. Keep pets away from the front porch where they might jump on or bite unfamiliar visitors. This way you will also prevent possible allergic reactions to cats or dogs.
Ok, you’ve made sure that people have made it safely to the front door. Now what? You also need to ensure that they stay safe in your home while you are busy hosting that spook-tacular Halloween Party!
Hope these simple tips have been useful to you. Have a safe and happy Halloween!
- If there are children around, hide all the breakable stuff. Also, make sure there is sufficient light to see, as they may not be familiar with the layout of your home.
- Offer only commercially-packaged treats to trick-or-treaters. You are responsible for the safety of your guests so serve non-alcoholic beverages to your older party guests; and, if you are serving alcohol, do not allow it for anyone who is under-age.
- Make sure that the party games you have planned are safe. If there are going to be some haunted mansion stunts you want to pull, please be careful. Use proper protective gear to save you and your guests’ rear-ends. Plan to use Padded Crash Mats inside the house to prevent serious injuries while executing above mentioned stunts.
- Prevent slip and fall injuries: Carve your pumpkin on a newspaper. Make sure to dispose of the pumpkin seeds and the slimy innards into a bowl. Clean up after the carving to make sure the floor is not slippery. It would be a good idea to invest in some anti-slip underlay for your area rugs inside your home to avoid possible injuries by slip and falls.