5 Halloween Safety Tips to Keep Scares Away

Wed Oct 27 2021

golden retriever in a pumpkin costume surrounded by children in costumes

From pumpkin carving to crowds of ghosts and goblins descending upon your street, Halloween is fun for all ages. But the tendency toward mischief can mean extra risk for homeowners. Protect your home and family from trouble (and halloween insurance claims!) with these seven Halloween safety tips.

1. Guard Against Vandalism

Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you may actually get tricked if you don’t hand out treats. And while a smashed jack-o’-lantern is annoying, it’s nothing compared to the damage some vandals can do on Halloween night. Protect against these nighttime mischief-makers by:

  • Keeping your porch lights on.
  • Taping over your mailbox.
  • Parking your car in the garage.
  • Sitting outside during trick-or-treat hours.
  • Installing motion sensor lights and cameras.

As a bonus, a well-lit home and walkway reduces the chance of injuries for trick-or-treaters and visitors you actually want to stop by on All Hallow's Eve.

2. Place Pumpkins Properly

Jack-o’-lanterns make great decorations, but they can tip over easily and cause a fire, so you want to be smart about where you put them. Setting candle-lit pumpkins along your walkway when you expect kids in costume to come by is a recipe for disaster.

The safer bet is to use glow sticks or flameless candles, and make sure you clear the area of debris so there’s less flammable material around. Or better yet, keep the lit jack-o’-lanterns inside your home. Either way, never leave a lit pumpkin unattended.

3. Keep Partygoers Safe

For the over-21 crowd, Halloween night rivals only New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day as an occasion to imbibe. But having friends over for a few libations can actually turn into a lawsuit for the homeowner. Not only can you be held responsible for a friend’s injury if they’ve been over-served, but in some states, you can be held liable for your inebriated partygoer’s actions beyond your house.

You can minimize this trouble by having hearty appetizers on hand and offering nonalcoholic drinks. Another tip: refrain from drinking yourself. You’ll have a better shot at keeping someone who’s had too much from getting hurt.

It's also important to consider food allergies when hosting or handing out candy. The most serious allergic reactions in the United States are caused by milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, wheat, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts. About 2.5 percent of all children in the US are allergic to peanuts.

4. Pay Attention to Costume Safety

Dressing up is a big part of Halloween fun, so don’t let the good times be marred by a costume that puts you or your little ones at risk. Pick a costume that:

  • Fits well. Baggy or oversized costumes are a tripping hazard.
  • Doesn’t limit vision or restrict breathing. Make sure you try on masks so you know if you can see and breathe well.
  • Is flame retardant or resistant. A store-bought costume should have this phrase clearly stated on the label. Otherwise, consider clothing that is polyester or nylon.

If you can’t find a flame-resistant costume, you may want to try this do-it-yourself solution to increase your safety:

  • Combine seven ounces of Borax with three ounces of boric acid in two quarts of warm water.
  • Dip your costume in the mixture until it is fully saturated and wring out by hand.
  • Hang to dry.

This mixture does not make your costume fireproof, just fire retardant (i.e., slow to burn when exposed to flame). It also only lasts until the fabric is washed.

5. Take Care of Fido

Trick-or-treaters may bring you all kinds of joy, but your dog might not love it when the doorbell rings fifty times in one night. The onslaught of visitors can make your furry friend anxious, so make sure they’re locked up safe and sound throughout All Hallow’s Eve to minimize the chance of Fido making a break for it while you’re handing out candy. Doing so can also keep tiny hands safe from fear-driven bites and you safe from a claim on your personal liability coverage.

After COVID put the kibosh on last year’s festivities, 2022 is the year for people to go out and enjoy again﹘assuming, of course, your local health department has given its okay. These Halloween safety tips can help everyone have a good time.

Be safe out there, goblins!