Homeowners Decorating for Halloween
One of the most exciting times for homeowners is decorating for Halloween and seeing all the unique costumes children of all ages wear trick-or-treating. Follow these safety tips to keep children and their parents safe when they come to your house.
Follow These Safety Tips
- Well-lit pathways- Make sure the front of your house and sidewalk are well-lit. Since the nights are getting darker earlier, make sure the bulbs in your path and porch lights are working and your solar lights have the panels clean to fully absorb the shorter days of sun. If they have battery backups, make sure they are in good condition and not corroded. If you don’t have permanent path lights along your sidewalk, try carved pumpkins with tea lights or luminaries, and make sure they are on the outside of the path so dangling costumes do not catch on fire.
- Clear obstacles- Before Halloween night, make sure all hoses are wrapped up or put away, toys are put up, acorns are swept off the sidewalk and limbs are cleaned up from the yard and path area.
- Secure pets- Halloween is stressful for both dogs and cats. Cats may use the constant opening of the door as an opportunity to escape and dogs may bark loudly every time the doorbell rings. Some children may be afraid of dogs. Protect everyone and keep your pets secured in a crate away from the door.
- Decorate safely- Use LED candles in place of open-flame candles in pumpkins, luminaries, or other light-up decorations. Do not drape bushes or trees with artificial spider webs that can trap birds. Also, do not soak pumpkins in bleach to preserve them. Squirrels and other wildlife can become sick when they eat it. When it starts to rot, break it up and throw it in your yard for the animals to enjoy as food sources become scarce. Add an extra spooky touch with Halloween music that is motion-activated as the trick-or-treaters come up on your porch.
- Give out treats other than candy- We are not saying to give out apples and granola bars to everyone, but have some fruit, pencils, or other nonfood items available for kids that may have allergies or special needs.
- Let trick-or-treaters know if you are “open”- If you do not wish to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, make sure you keep your outside lights off. You still need to make sure your yard and pathways are clear in case kids run through your yard as a shortcut between two participating houses. You can also leave a table of candy near the end of your sidewalk with a couple of solar or battery-operated lights and a well-marked sign telling kids they may take a piece.
- Home security- Make sure all other doors and windows are locked so no one can break in while you are distracted at the front door.
- Dry surfaces- If it is rainy on Halloween, make sure you have non-skid rugs or mats at the top of your steps so kids don’t slip going up or down. Consider additional lighting if it is very rainy or foggy.
Keeping These Tips in Mind
If you are taking your kids out trick-or-treating, make sure you only take them to homes that have indicated they want trick-or-treaters and check their candy when you get home for open or damaged wrappers or candy that has nuts or other ingredients your child may be allergic to. Make sure your kids wear costumes that fit properly and are made out of flame-retardant materials with reflective tape or have them carry glow sticks. Consider face paint in lieu of masks. If your child does not want to go to a specific house or starts feeling uncomfortable once on the porch, skip the house or leave immediately. Be especially careful crossing streets that might have more cars parked on them than usual, even when using a crosswalk. If possible cross in groups.
Keeping these tips in mind will ensure this Halloween is as good as (or even better than) the ones you remember from your childhood. And do not forget to save a piece of your favorite candy for yourself!