- Maintain Your Front Yard
If you’re expecting trick-or-treaters this year, ensure you prep your yard and home to avoid any potential hazards. If you don’t currently have a well-lit path to your front door, consider installing lights or placing temporary lights along a pathway. When the sun goes down, be sure to turn your outside lights on to assist visitors in safely reaching the entrance of your home.
A few hours before trick-or-treaters arrive, it’s a good idea to sweep your pathways and steps, keeping walkways free of any debris. If possible, direct foot traffic away from hidden shrubbery, tree roots or hazards like holes in your yard. In addition, place any festive decorations in low traffic areas to help prevent tripping.
- Prepare Your Pets
Keep your pets in their crates or in a back bedroom. This won’t only keep visitors safe if you happen to have an aggressive pet or one who is scared of strangers, but it will also help to ease your pet’s anxiety. Make sure your pets have access to water, and if their anxiety is particularly acute, place their favorite toy and bed in a quiet space with them.
The frequent knocking or ringing of a doorbell is often distressing to our furry friends, and this is a good way to keep them away from the action. The constant bark of a dog can cause stress for the entire family, not to mention make trick or treaters a little nervous.
Pro Tip: Leave candy at the front door of your home with a sign asking trick-or-treaters not to ring the doorbell. This can help to lessen the noise caused by Halloween visitors.
- Avoid Fire Hazards
We all love the warm glow of a jack-o'-lantern on Halloween, but fire safety must be considered when you have little goblins trekking up and down your front lawn. Consider utilizing battery operated candles and LED lights instead of real, lit candles whenever possible. Similar to your decorative jack-o-lanterns, popular Halloween décor items like paper lanterns lining the pathway to your front door can also present a hazard, so plan to use LED lights in these as well!
An additional item to keep in mind which is often overlooked: do not overload electrical outlets by plugging in too many electrical decorations or light strands. Be sure to use multiple extension cords with caution when setting up the electric elements of your Halloween display. Additionally, while we know the majority of your decorations may be outside, also keep in mind inside fire safety. Be sure not to drape fabrics or decorations, like spider webs, over lamps or other lighting fixtures, as these items may be flammable.
- Consider Your Candy
While candy may be the kiddos number one priority on Halloween, yours should be only giving out candy in its original manufacturer wrappers. This has been a long-standing rule, but still many people think it’s ok to give out homemade treats like popcorn balls or candy apples.
While we all enjoy homemade, seasonal treats, the priority is the safety of the children who will consume the treats you’re handing out. Plus, many parents will simply toss homemade treats, not wanting to risk their children’s health.
Pro Tip: Try your best to avoid candy and other snacks containing nuts. Nut allergies are very common, especially among children. We know Reese’s Cups and Snickers are popular Halloween giveaways, but if you plan to give out nut containing snacks, have alternatives to offer in addition.
- Keep a Distance
With Covid still affecting much of the country, it’s important to practice social distancing on Halloween to keep yourself, and your visitors, safe. CDC recommendations include standing six feet apart and avoiding touching your face after interacting with others. To keep yourself and other safe, it’s also advisable to not invite trick-or-treaters inside, even if they are your neighbors or you know them well. Furthermore, consider the addition of a hand sanitizer station on your front porch to promote frequent sanitation.
Pro Tip: Encourage the use of masks on your property by putting up a sign at the entrance to your yard or driveway reminding trick or treaters and their parents to put on their mask before approaching your door.
In addition to CDC COVID recommendations, ensure you follow your local and state guidelines for social distancing this Halloween.
- Store Your Stuff
Remove valuable items, which are in plain sight from your front door, to other rooms.
Unfortunately, Halloween presents itself as an opportunity for criminals to get a peak inside of your home and displaying items of value to strangers can increase the likelihood of your home being broken into. Remember to set an alarm before going to bed and make sure all windows and doors are locked.
As far as the valuables outside of your home, consider parking your car in your garage and closing the garage door. If you do not have a garage, try to park your vehicles out of the way of children who may nick or scratch your car on accident. This goes for bikes, toys or any other items you wouldn’t want damaged.
Pro Tip: Utilize motion sensors on your outdoor lights, particularly in areas that are not typically monitored, like your backdoor. This will assist in deterring any ghouls with poor intentions.
It’s important to keep safety in mind during any holiday gathering or event, but especially on Halloween when celebrations often take place outdoors and after dark. It’s particularly important to prepare this year with the addition of COVID risks and social distancing recommendations. With a little forward thinking, you can set your family, your home and your visitors up for a safe and spooky Halloween!