Halloween Homeowner’s Precautions

Most Halloween tips focus on safety for trick-or-treaters, but homeowners should also take extra precautions to keep their homes and yards safe, or risk the chance of liability.
I found a great article to share with you from Suite101.com—just in time for Halloween. You can read it in its entirety by clicking on the link below, but here it is in a nutshell:
Indoor Fire Safety
Candles are often used to illuminate Jack-O-Lanterns, and many lights with special effects are turned on to give the house an eerie and fun look. , If a real fire source must be used, try votive candles whenever possible. Better still, use battery-operated lights or chemical light sticks to light up carved pumpkins. If many lights are used to decorate the house, don’t overload extension cords or let them run through water or snow in the ground.
You should also ensure that smoke detectors, alarms and sprinklers are in good working condition. Have a few fire drills with the family before Halloween to make sure your kids know where the escape routes and exit locations are located. This will help prepare everyone, in case a fire breaks out amidst the fun.
Leave the Porch Light on for Trick-or-Treaters
Adequate light is essential for visitors and trick-or-treaters to see where they are going. Leave the porch light on. If needed, install additional lights in the front yard to avoid someone tripping over something he or she can’t see.
Keep Walkways Clear on Halloween
Make sure walkways and the front yard are clean and clutter-free to prevent falls. Move bikes, garden hoses, potted plants and skateboards away from areas that are likely to be walked on by groups of people. Decorative items and Jack-O-Lanterns should also be positioned at a safe distance from crowds to prevent people from tripping over them.
Confine Pets
Halloween means there will be lots of visitors and trick-or-treaters coming and going on your property. Although pets are a big part of many families, they need to be properly confined in a safe place on Halloween. The new sights and sounds may excite, agitate or frighten your pet, resulting in unexpected behavior. Cats may jump on tables and counters where Halloween lights and props are located. A dog may mistake guests for intruders and attack them the minute you open the door. Some pets may also chew on
decorations or electrical cords used to light up the house. Make sure those cords are properly covered and secured.
Offer Non-Candy Treats
Food safety is another Halloween-related safety issue. Candy and sweets are supposed to be treats. While these treats are not meant to cause harm in any way, they can cause reactions in children with food allergies. Most kids have been warned by their parents not to eat any treats without letting them examine their goody bag first, but some may give in to temptation and eat them along the way.
To avoid adverse food reactions, consider offering non-candy treats to young visitors and trick-or-treaters. Stickers, unsharpened pencils, small notebooks, crayons, a few coins, balloons and cheap small toys all make good candy substitutes.
In short…
Halloween is meant to be fun and spooky–not just for the family, but for visitors as well. Make the house safe for everyone on Halloween. Practice indoor fire safety, leave the porch light on, clear walkways and the front yard of any clutter, confine pets in safe places and offer non-candy treats to little trick-or-treaters.

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