The spookiest time of year is almost here again. Halloween is lurking just around the corner, and children from around the world have already begun picking out their costumes, while adults rush around planning parties, and preparing for trick-or-treaters.
As fun as this festive season can be, it’s worth remembering that there are a few dangers that you need to pay attention to. After all, you want to keep your home and your family safe during all of the chaos. According to research by Aviva Insurance, the risks associated with theft, burglaries, and malicious domestic damage all increase by around 160% during the Halloween period, and if you want to enjoy the experience safely, there are a few steps you may need to follow.
Step 1: Protect your Home When You’re Not There
There are plenty of safety issues to think about when you’re planning to take the kids trick-or-treating, from making sure you don’t wander into the more dangerous parts of town, to double-checking candy for malicious intent. However, most people don’t stop to think about the safety of the home that they leave behind. Halloween is a particularly vulnerable time for homeowners, particularly when the streets are buzzing, and it’s hard to identify threats due to masks, and costumes. Protect your property by:
- Adjusting your camera settings to focus on the doors, windows, and areas around your home. This should help you to identify thieves, pranksters, and other suspicious figures.
- Locking your doors and windows whether you’re at home or away. If it’s noisy outside, then you may struggle to hear your backdoor or window opening.
- Using light timers — if you have timers on your lights, make sure that you use them to illuminate specific rooms from time to time — giving the impression that someone is home, even when they aren’t.
- Securing valuables in your safe, to ensure that the most important items remain protected even if someone does manage to get into your home.
Step 2: Clear a Path
If you’re expecting trick-or-treaters to visit, reduce your risk of falling victim to injury claims by clearing a path through any yard decorations that you may have. If you are decorating for the holiday, you might consider using lighted ropes around the perimeter to help children identify where they should and shouldn’t go. Most kids are too busy counting candy to pay attention to where they’re walking, so it’s up to you to clear away any hazards wherever possible.
Turn off sprinkler and irrigation systems, clear up hoses and toys, and secure railings if you have them to ensure that visiting children don’t get injured by a rickety support rail.
Step 3: Keep Dangerous Guns Locked away
We mentioned using a safe above to keep your valuables safe from sneaky thieves and burglars, however it’s also important to use your safe to enhance the safety of your children in the home. During Halloween, it’s all too easy for children to seek out better “accessories” for their outfits, and if you leave guns or dangerous weapons lying around outside of a safe, you run the risk that youngsters could pick one up to use as part of their costume.
While you might feel as though your dangerous items are well-hidden, it’s best not to run the risk – particularly if you’re having other people’s children over to visit for a Halloween party or feast. Lock everything away in a gun safe, and you can breathe easy.
Step 4: Choose Decorations Carefully
If you’re hosting a Halloween party, make sure that you choose the decorations with caution. The National Fire Protection Association has issued warnings about the presence of candles and unprotected flames in homes — particularly when there’s a lot of foot traffic that could increase the risk of accidental fire. Avoid the chances of trick-or-treaters knocking over candles, or carved pumpkins setting fire to your curtains, by switching open flames to safer options.
While using candles to light your Jack-O’-Lantern may be tradition, LED lights, flameless candles, and glow sticks offer a much safer alternative. Just remember, if you’re planning on using strings of lights, or electronic decorations, you shouldn’t overload your electrical outlets, invest in surge protectors to avoid blowing a fuse.
Step 5: Secure Your Pets
Finally, remember to look out for your furry friends during the Halloween festivities. The constant ringing of doorbells, or the movement of crowds around your home during a party can stress animals according to the ASPCA, causing frightened cats and dogs to run away from home when the front door opens for even a moment.
Don’t run the risk of your animal biting someone, or running out into the street. Instead, keep them locked away from all of the excitement in a safe room, and don’t let them out until the party, or trick-or-treating is over.
Be Safe this Halloween
The above steps should help you to act with caution during the Halloween festivities, but remember to use your own common sense too. For instance, be cautious of who you open the door to – though most trick-or-treaters are innocent kids in search of candy, if you feel uneasy, don’t be afraid to leave the door locked.