The days are getting shorter, the air is becoming cooler, and brilliantly colored leaves are falling from the trees. Halloween is almost here. The kids’ excitement is growing with each day closer to the costumed, freakishly fun holiday. Before you get too busy buying the candy, figuring out your kids’ costumes or even what you want to dress up as, read on for some helpful tips to keep everyone safe at Halloween.
Get Scary Safe at Home
Although Halloween is intended to be a ghostly good time for children (and grownups, too), it’s important to remember that it also can be an ideal time for burglars and vandals because of preoccupied and distracted homeowners, and can pose an increased risk for injuries.
• As an answer, keep your home well lit inside and out. Adequate lighting will not only deter burglars but also help prevent falls by trick-or-treaters. Consider motion sensor lights or spotlights that can be controlled on a custom schedule through home automation services.
• Clear any debris from sidewalks and your yard to ensure a clear path for little ghosts and goblins.
• And because the occurrence of fire increases around Halloween, the U.S. Fire Administration advises against using candles as decorations. If you use jack-o-lanterns to light your pathway, make sure to use a battery-powered light that’s tested for safety by a laboratory in your pumpkin to avoid a fire.
• Don’t forget to lock all windows and doors even if you’re the one doling out the candy. If you’re not going to be home, let your neighbors know and make sure your alarm system is set.
• If you have an alarm system, use it even if you’re home. Think about spot lighting the alarm signage for extra security.
• Remember that when you’re out trick-or-treating with the kids, you can check on your home via your smartphone with MyHome home automation services.
• Find out what time your community ends Halloween festivities, and be sure not to open the door to strangers after the curfew.
• Report any suspicious activity to your local police or sheriff’s department.
• Keep your pets confined on Halloween night for their safety and the safety of others. Many pets are scared by people in costume, so it’s best to keep Fido and Fluffy in the house, away from others.
Frightening Street Smarts
Of course, you also want to keep your family safe while hunting the neighborhood for candy. So it’s best to remind children before they head out to stay with a group, says the National Crime Prevention Council. If they’re younger, they should stay with a parent. If they’re older, they should stay with their group of friends and not branch off.
• Be sure to have a plan in place in case someone gets separated.
• Set a time limit for kids to be out trick or treating and map out a safe route with them.
• Ensure the kids understand to stay in well-lit areas and not enter the homes or cars of strangers.
• Attach reflective tape to costumes and bags to help others easily see the trick-or-treaters.
• Make sure they have flashlights that work before they conquer the streets.
While Mischief Night is a night known for pranks and tricks—where toilet paper, shaving cream and eggs on homes and property can often come into play—and may sound funny to kids, be sure to remind them not to engage in those activities as they’re considered vandalism.
Keeping all these tips in mind will no doubt bring a safe night of fun and loads of smiles along with overflowing bags of candy.