Halloween safety

 

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It won’t be long before you’ll be greeted by little ghosts and goblins shouting “Happy Halloween!” Now is the time to make your home safe for trick-or-treaters. We’ve gathered nine ideas to get you started.

1. Secure railings. Young children, and the adults who often accompany them, will need the security and support of railings while climbing steps to get to your front door. If you’ve been putting off fixing that rickety railing, it’s time to get out the toolbox and make it secure.

2. Clear walkways. Trick-or-treaters are too busy counting candy to pay close attention to where they’re walking, so it’s critical to survey your yard for potential trip and slip hazards. Be sure your yard is free of tripping hazards like hoses and sprinklers, clear walkways of loose gravel, and be sure to clean moss off steps. If your home has an irrigation system, turn the system off well in advance of the big night so your lawn and walkways have a chance to dry.

3. Avoid using candles. A glowing jack-o’-lantern makes your home warm and welcoming to candy seekers, but using a candle to illuminate a pumpkin can be dangerous. Costumes, paper decorations and ornamental straw can easily catch on fire. Instead of a traditional candle, use one powered by batteries.

4. Consider candy choices. No doubt buying Halloween candy is fun, but keep in mind that not all candy is appropriate for every child. Avoid candy that poses a choking hazard for toddlers, and keep in mind that a number of children have peanut allergies. Even if the candy doesn’t contain peanuts, it could be made in a facility that handles peanuts. Check the candy bag’s label for a peanut allergy warning.

5. Use lots of lights. A dimly lit entryway helps set the spooky mood of Halloween, but it’s also increases the chance of an accident. Make sure the exterior lights of your home are working, and consider turning on flood lights to illuminate the darkest areas of your yard. Even if you’re not going to be home, leave on lights for safety reasons and to dissuade unsavory characters from vandalizing your home. And, if you won’t be there, make sure you set your security system, just to be safe.

6. Contain your pets. Barking dogs not only scare trick-or-treaters of every age away, they also present a danger. A dog that breaks away from your home might not bite, but he could knock down a toddler or scare a teen right into the street, causing even more danger. Keep all pets securely confined inside your home until the hustle and bustle of the night has passed.

7. Don’t put out candy. Maybe you won’t be home on Halloween or perhaps it’s difficult for you to answer the door, so you’ve put out a bowl of candy for kids to help themselves. While this seems like the right thing to do, someone could taint the candy. It’s probably unlikely, but it’s definitely not worth taking the chance.

8. Make room in the garage. If you’re headed out on Halloween, clean out the garage and store your car securely in it. From teen antics to serious vehicle vandalism and theft, your car is best kept in the garage on Halloween.

9. Use discretion when opening the door. While nearly all trick-or-treaters are innocent kids out to collect as much candy as they can possibly carry, you must still be cautious of whom you open the door for. If you have an uneasy feeling about the person approaching your door, don’t open it. And as the barrage of trick-or-treaters fades to just a few here and there, it’s a good idea to stop opening the door for the night.

Halloween has a reputation as a frightening holiday, but that doesn’t mean it should be dangerous. Use our tips to keep trick-or-treaters and your family safe and enjoy a spooktacular Halloween night.