If you’re going to be home to hand out candy to all the ghosts, princesses, witches, and other costumed cuties this Halloween, it takes more than buying loads of candy and treats to prepare. Making sure your home is safe for all ages of trick-or-treaters is something that every homeowner should do. Here are our tips to keep your spooky guests out of harm’s way and enjoying a night filled with fun and candy instead of slips and other mishaps.
1. Secure railings
Young kids, and the adults who are with them, will need the 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 checking out their candy haul to pay close attention to where they’re walking. The day of Halloween be sure to survey your yard for potential trip and slip hazards. Remove hazards like hoses, toys, and sprinklers, clear walkways of loose gravel, and to remove anything from steps that could cause a problem. 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. Use lots of lights
A dimly lit entryway may help set the mood for Halloween haunts, but it 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 or make sure your motion sensor lights are active to keep vandals away from your home. And, if you won’t be there, make sure you set your security system, just to be safe.
4. Avoid using candles
A glowing jack-o’-lantern makes your home warm and welcoming to trick-or-treaters, but using a candle to illuminate a pumpkin can pose a danger. Costumes, paper decorations and ornamental straw can easily catch on fire. Instead of a traditional candle, use battery powered versions instead.
5. Consider candy choices.
If you’re aware that your neighborhood has a lot of younger children or kids with allergies or you want to err on the side of caution, keep in mind that not all candy is appropriate for every child. Try to avoid candy that poses a choking hazard for toddlers, and remember that a number of children have peanut allergies. Check the candy bag’s label for a peanut allergy warning if you’re concerned.
6. Contain your pets
Barking dogs can not only scare trick-or-treaters of every age, 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 someone right into the street, causing major danger. Try to keep all pets securely confined inside your home until the hustle and bustle of the night is over. Not only is is safer for visitors, but for your pets as well.
7. Put your car in the garage
If you’re headed out on Halloween, clean out the garage and store your car securely in it. Studies show that children are four times more likely to be struck by a vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year, meaning that parking your car and trick or treating on foot is a good idea if you can. Also consider potential vehicle vandalism and theft, which tends to happen on Halloween night, your car is best kept in the garage on Halloween.
8. 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 should 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.