Halloween home safety tips
October 20, 2017
Ah, Halloween … when excited 10-year-olds buzzed on candy corn weave around in the dark, their vision compromised by Batman masks, capes trailing behind … and then run up your home’s poorly lit stairs hoping for a candy bar instead of a mini box of Craisins like they got at the last place.
What’s wrong with this picture? Nutritional ideals and your preference for Wonder Woman aside, “poorly lit stairs” should jump out at you, especially if you’re a homeowner. When you invite trick-or-treaters to your door, you're also inviting risk. That is, liability.
Remember? Your responsibility starts at your property line. But don't worry. This Halloween doesn't have to turn into a horror story. To help keep your insurance company out of it, we’ve got six simple safety tips for you.
1. Light up the “runway” to your door
Make sure trick-or-treaters can easily see the path to your door. Walk it yourself, at night. You can wear a mask to simulate the reality of the situation (and have a little fun while you’re at it). Skip the fog machine that makes it impossible to see the stairs. And BTW, is your railing secure?
2. Clear the general area of “tricks”
Since when do kids stay on sidewalks? On Halloween, they’re excited and even more unpredictable than usual. Their adult guardians can only do so much. If you have kids, you know this. So rid your yard of anything they could trip on, slip on, or fall into after dark. Like dead branches, hoses, wet leaves, freshly dug graves …
3. Leave the fire in Hell
There’s nothing like a glowing pumpkin on Halloween, but LEDs are safer than candles. Open candles, paper-bag luminarias, or torches? Think flaming Batman cape. Consider flickering string lights instead. Dying for the moodiness of real fire? Keep an extinguisher on hand and know how to use it. But note: it’s dangerous to spray a person with a fire extinguisher. Make them stop, drop, and roll.
4. Avoid shocking electrical events
Indoors and out, don’t overload electrical outlets with your lights and creepy inflatable characters. Never fasten electrical wires and cords in a way that could damage the cords’ insulation. No staples or nails — nails are for coffins.
5. Send your pets to bed early
Preferably with their favorite podcast or Netflix series on to drown out the scary action at the front door. Dog bites are by far the most common liability claim on homeowners insurance, and a stream of bizarre-looking, noisy strangers doesn’t improve the odds. Even the best of dogs could lose it. Also, both dogs and cats might decide to make a quick escape from it all when you open the front door. Keep outdoor cats inside all night for their own safety.
6. Keep your home safe too
Halloween is an excellent opportunity for random strangers to wander your neighborhood and mess with your house. If you’re out at a costume ball, take measures to limit the potential for shenanigans. Turn on lights inside and out, put bikes and cars in the garage, and arm your security system if you have one.
Reminder: If you’re driving on Halloween, be extra alert. Kids are at least twice as likely to be struck by a car on this holiday than on any other day of the year.
Filed Under: For Homeowners