It’s a holiday known for spooky decorations, crazy costumes, and tasty treats. However, the scariest part of Halloween can be the potential risks involved with home and family safety. Thankfully, these dangers can be easily handled with some advance preparation and situational awareness. To help you out, we’ve rounded up some of the best tips for your holiday defensive living needs.
Preparing for the Night
Set up your house for success.
If you plan to have your house available as a stop for excited trick-or-treaters, there are a few steps you should take in advance.
- Remove tripping hazards like toys or decorations from your walkway.
- Check those outdoor lights! Many trick-or-treaters will likely come after dark so you’ll want to make sure they have a well-lit path. Investing in motion sensor lights can also help deter anyone who has their mind on tricks rather than treats.
- If it has rained recently, clear wet leaves off your driveway to prevent slipping. You can also put out a sign letting people know about slick spots in the path.
- Got jack-o-lanterns? Consider swapping out any candles for battery-operated lights to reduce the fire risk.
- Take a quick picture of your property beforehand just in case anything is damaged or stolen during the festivities.
Make a family plan for the night.
Sadly, children are more than twice as likely to be hit and killed by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Low visibility at night often contributes to this scenario, so if your little ones will be out after dark, plan to give them glow sticks or flashlights, and add reflective tape to their costumes.
If you’ve got older kids who want to trick-or-treat with friends, go over their route together beforehand and set a time that you would like them to check in and get home. Make sure they also know to stick to familiar areas and with their group.
Remind your youngsters not to enter a stranger’s house or car in pursuit of treats. Make sure they also know how to call 911 in the event of a safety risk.
It’s Here! Taking Action on Halloween Night
Reminders for Drivers
If you’re planning on driving at all on Halloween night, be extra vigilant while watching the roads. There may be people in dark clothing or costumes that make them hard to spot. Turning on your headlights a bit earlier in the night than usual will also help with visibility.
If you’re a new or inexperienced driver (or you have one in your family), avoiding the road on Halloween night is probably the smartest option.
Reminders for Homeowners
Now that you’ve prepped your house, you’re ready for all the little witches and superheroes to come visit. Since you’ll be opening and closing the door a lot, make sure you’ve turned off your alarm beforehand. However, lock your door in between visits to stay safe, and don’t forget to turn that alarm back on at the end of the night.
Pet owners, this one’s for you: Keep Fluffy or Fido in a room where they can’t get to the front door. Animals may be startled by all the activity and the strangers in costumes, so this will help ensure they can’t escape or inadvertently bite trick-or-treaters.
Keeping your car at home? Pull it into your garage or park in a low-traffic area if possible. This will prevent accidental damage or safety risks.
Reminders for Parents
Make sure a responsible adult is with your young trick-or-treaters at all times. Keep a cell phone with you for communication purposes, but try not to be distracted by it while you’re on your candy collection route.
When walking, stick to sidewalks and paths. If none are available, walk against traffic as close to the left side of the street as possible. Remind your kids to watch out for cars that might be turning or backing out of driveways.
*Special note about allergies: According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 13 children is affected by a food allergy. That can make Halloween extra scary if you haven’t taken precautions:
- Institute a “no eating while trick-or-treating” rule. Instead, make it a fun end-of-night activity to sort through the treats once everyone is home. Who has the most chocolate bars? How many packs of candy corn were in this year’s haul?
- If your child has a severe allergy, be sure someone in your party is carrying their prescribed epinephrine auto-injector (epipen).
- As a neighbor, you can keep some allergy friendly treats or non-food items on hand, or use these items for the entirety of the treats you are handing out. The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages neighbors to put out a teal-colored pumpkin to signify an allergen-friendly house.
Frights on October 31st don’t have to be related to family safety threats. Now that you’re armed with these holiday defensive living tips, we hope you and your family can have a fun and happy Halloween! For more on how to protect what matters most anytime of the year, check out our comprehensive defensive living courses from Concealed Coalition University.