It’s fall, which means it’s officially Halloween season! Between sipping pumpkin spice lattes and going leaf peeping, you may also like to transform your house into a spooky spectacle. Of course, safety should also be top of mind when it comes to decorating and celebrating any holiday, so we reached out to our friends at Franklin Mutual Insurance (FMI) for top tips to help you enjoy a safe Halloween at home!
Tip #1 – Make your property and yard safe for trick or treaters
“The first thing that comes to mind for a safe Halloween is property and yard safety,” says Chelsea VanderGroef, Vice President, Marketing, for FMI. “You need to make sure your home is safe for guests.”
While you may want to make your home a scary sight, remember to follow these Halloween safety tips when decorating:
- Keep your stairs and walking areas clear of any decorations, such as jack-o-lanterns, spiderwebs, and blow-up characters.
- Beware of tripping hazards, including lights and extension cords that aren’t properly secured.
- Clear your yard and walkway of leaves, which can be slippery, especially after an autumn shower.
- Properly mark your pathways, so visitors know where to step.
- While spooky usually means “dark,” make sure you have proper lighting, so candy-seeking guests won’t trip or fall.
Unleveled walkways and driveways can create hazardous situations. If you have unsafe areas, call a professional to address these issues before someone gets hurt. Also, cordon off any unsafe areas of your yard and if need be, send guests to another doorway that’s safer, such as a side door. You may also want to consider sitting at the edge of your property to hand out candy.
Tip #2 – Decorate safely
When decorating, always err on the side of caution for a safe Halloween.
“Avoid the urge to use real flames,” says Chelsea. “Real candles can create hazardous situations in jack-o-lanterns and windows, and near curtains, costumes or flammable decorations. Instead, opt for electrical candles or glow sticks.”
Also, don’t overload outlets or extension cords as this, too, can start a fire. Of course, avoid stringing too many lights together. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions, but the general rule of the thumb is to connect no more than three strings together.
“While this may seem like a no-brainer, it’s important to note that if you’re using an extension cord or decorations outdoors, make sure everything’s rated for outdoor use,” says Chelsea. “Also, avoid a shock by plugging any electrical decorations into a GFCI outlet.”
Tip #3 – Don’t petrify your pets
“Pets, especially dogs, can be scared by children in costumes and the constant ringing of doorbells,” says Emily Notaro, Marketing & Communications Specialist at FMI. “Make sure to secure them before answering the door.”
Homeowners should place pets in a locked area, where they can’t escape while you’re giving out candy. Also, if doorbells frighten your fur-babies, then turn on soothing music or place your pet in a thundershirt, if that helps.
(“My bichon frise loved the ‘I Want It That Way!’ by the Backstreet Boys.” – vipHome.app Content Writer Susie)
Tip #4 – Keep your friends close and your smart devices on
Of course, what would Halloween be without Goosey Night, also known as Mischief Night, Cabbage Night, and other favorite terms? Today, many homeowners have at least one smart home security device, and on this night – and on Halloween night – it’s important to use them.
“If you have a security system, make sure to turn it on,” urges Emily. “Also, check that any smart home security devices, such as video doorbells and cameras, are functioning properly.”
Adds Chelsea, “It may seem simple, but make sure to turn on your lights and lock your doors.”
Tip #5 – Eat (and buy) store packaged candy
One of the most important safety tips for Halloween is – mind your candy.
“Buy and eat only the store packaged candy,” reminds Emily. “Forgo any candy apples or other homemade treats given out by strangers.”
Also, keep your candy on a high shelf or in a locked cabinet to keep your pets from finding your delicious treats.
With guests on your property, should you be worried about your liability?
Most of the common perils, including theft and liability (trips, slips, and falls) are generally covered by the typical homeowners’ insurance policy. Of course, homeowners should review their liability limits at least once a year.
“It’s always a good idea to talk to your insurance agent and see if any holiday activities pose more risk than you have coverage,” reminds Chelsea.
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