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October 19, 2016

Halloween Decoration Safety

Whether you’re simply adding a few carved pumpkins to your front porch or going for the full-on Addams Family mansion look, a little advanced planning and good safety practices will help keep your property safe for Halloween.

Travelers Insurance posted these great ideas for homeowners, including:

  • Walk your property before Halloween to identify and minimize potential dangers, especially those difficult to see after dark. For example, check to make sure temporary extension cords are secured to avoid becoming a tripping hazard.
  • Make sure walking surfaces are even and clear of debris, and that any obstacles are clearly marked, such as stakes, exposed roots or holes.
  • Ensure that your front yard, walkway and entry way are well-lit so that those unfamiliar with your home can safely navigate. If using a fog machine, be careful that the fog does not make it difficult to see tripping hazards.
  • Set up decorations with traffic flow in mind. Place them to prevent tipping over, blowing away or becoming a tripping hazard.
  • When plugging in your scary indoor decorations, do not overload electrical outlets.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to help avoid damage to your home or injury to your guests. For example, make sure inflatable decorations are secured properly and kept away from sources of ignition.
  • Avoid any kind of open flame.
  • Consider using battery-operated candles or LED lighting as a safe alternative to candles.
  • Do not drape costumes or other fabrics over light bulbs, which generate heat and can start a fire.
  • Avoid dried flowers, cornstalks and crêpe paper because they are highly combustible. Keep these and other decorations away from open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
  • Use lights and other electrical decorations that have been tested for safety – look for a certification mark from UL, CSA, ETL or another nationally-recognized laboratory.
  • When plugging in decorations, avoid daisy chaining extension cords, which may cause overheating.
  • Never staple, nail through or fasten electrical wires or extension cords in any way that might damage the wire or insulation. This could cause electrical shock or fire.
  • Plug all outdoor lights and decorations into ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to help reduce the risk of electric shock. Portable GFCIs for outdoor use can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold.

For more Halloween safety suggestions, check out these HSI blog posts:

Halloween Safety Tips — Be Careful Out There Tonight!

Costumes and Carving — Keep It Safe This Halloween

Halloween Candy and Choking-Related Incidents Among Children

 

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