Your home might not need a costume on Halloween, but it does need to be ready for any neighbourhood ghosts, goblins or witches who drop by for a treat. If you plan to participate in the festivities, here are a few helpful tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics and National Fire Protection Association to help ensure that trick-or-treaters have a safe, yet haunted, night.
Turn on the light. A front porch light signals to trick-or-treaters that you’re ready for them to knock on the door. If you run out of candy or don’t wish to participate in Halloween, you can let people know by turning off the porch light.
Display holiday decor. A pumpkin here or a floating ghost there lets people know that you’re excited about the holiday.
Clear a path. If you put out Halloween decor, leave a clear path for anyone coming to knock on the front door. Extra personal objects like bikes, potted plants or children’s toys should also be removed from the sidewalk and porch so that no one trips on them.
Sweep the sidewalk. Fall means leaves littering the ground, which fits the season but could be a slipping hazard. Before trick-or-treaters arrive, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sweeping away any debris or moisture from the sidewalk or driveway.
Check lightbulbs. Once you flip on the front porch light switch, check to see if you have any burned-out bulbs. Replace them so that your front door and steps are well-lit.
Turn on extra lights. You may not normally turn on every light in the front of your home, but doing so will assist infrequent visitors who are coming to see you. To make their journey a little easier, switch on any additional lights, such as garage or stair lights. This gesture will help make sure that everyone can safely get to the front door.
Add safe and festive lighting. A few lanterns along the path put light right at trick-or-treaters’ feet. Battery-operated lights offer illumination without the hazards that come with an open flame, says Judy Comoletti, division manager for public education at the National Fire Protection Association. If you use a real candle, she says, a trick-or-treater’s costume could drape onto it and catch on fire. “If you absolutely need to use a real candle, you have to be more vigilant,” she says.
Homeowners who choose to have open flames need to watch them at all times, keep them 1 foot away from anything that can burn, and sit them on a sturdy, level surface.
Put away pets. Your family pet may be the nicest on the block, but not everyone knows that or likes animals. You also don’t want your pet to inadvertently hurt any candy-seeking visitors. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that homeowners keep pets inside and away from the door for everyone’s benefit, including the pets’.
Greet guests. If you plan to spend the whole night passing out treats, sit on your front porch swing or create a seating area for yourself. This lets visitors know that you’re ready for them to stop. Plus you can watch the parade of costumes.
Prepare for a spooktacular evening. Once you have the lights on, decor out and hazards put away, you can enjoy a safe, spooky night in the neighbourhood.