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Keep your Home Safe on Halloween

Keep your Home Safe on Halloween

Halloween is many people’s favorite holiday!   Houses are decorated for the main event.  Kids love going house to house to gather candy and favors.  For adults, it is an opportunity to dress up as their alter ego and party!   I find that Halloween is a great night to meet your neighbours as they bring around their children to your home or you bring your children to their’s.  Toronto is often warm enough for many people to sit on their front porches waiting for the onslaught of trick-or-treaters.

Prepare Your Home for Visitors

Trick-or-treat! On a slow year I get 75 young visitors.  Here are some tips on how to prepare for the onslaught:

  • Turn on your outdoor lights to let the the trick-or-treaters know that they can visit. Make sure that the path from the sidewalk to your door is clear.  Remove any trip hazards, fix broken steps and railings and sweep away (especially wet and slippery) leaves.
  • Children often race from house to house, crossing yards instead of using pathways.  Anticipate the shortcuts and clear away any potential hazards.
  • Confine your pets. Your pets may get anxious with the many visitors.
  • For adult parties, ask your guests to plan to take a taxi home or to have a designated driver so they can relax and enjoy a bevy or two.

Include Fire-Safety in your Pans

Don’t let a Halloween fire destroy your family and home with these tips:

  • Ensure that your smoke alarms are working.
  • Lit candles are fire hazards, if you are going to use them, do not leave them unattended.  Place lit candles well away from curtains, other flammable objects, trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.  Trick-or-treaters, travelling in swarms and wearing costumes, can easily knock over candles.
  • The safest option is to use battery operated candles or flashlights to light up your jack-o-lanterns and other decorations.
  • Keep combustible decorations such as crepe paper, cornstalks, dried flowers away from heat sources including candles, lit fireplaces, light bulbs and heaters.
  • Make sure that your decorative lights are in good order before you put them up.  Check for frayed or bare wires, loose connectors and broken light sockets.  Throw away broken sets.
  • Don`t overload extension cords or outlets.
  • Make sure that nothing blocks escape routes and that your guests are of aware of the locations of the exits.

Protect your Home from Halloween Vandalism

Unfortunately, Halloween is prime time for pranksters and vandals. Insurance companies claim that they are twice as active on Halloween as any other time of the year.  I have a few strategies to share to help you protect your home:

  • Give out good candy so that you are not the target of unsatisfied older kids that may come back later to protest through vandalism.  If you stay outside while you pass out the candy, you are more likely to meet your neighbours and potential pranksters and vandals are more likely to stay away.
  • Some homes may get egged if treats are not handed out.  One strategy that many people use if they are not handing out treats, is to turn out all of the main lights of the home as an indication that they are not at home.  This may not be the best strategy, because pranksters can do more damage under the cloak of darkness.  I like the idea of using motion sensor lights.
  • Don`t forget to protect your car. Halloween is a time for slashed tires, broken windows, spray painting and egging.  Park your car in your garage if you have one.  Otherwise, park it in a well lit area close to your home and keep an ear out for any unfriendly activity.  If you have a car alarm, you are ahead of the game.
  • Install a video camera on your window sill to monitor your yard and car so that you can catch vandals in the act and provide evidence to the police.
  • Close off any mail slots or pet doors to prevent stink bombs. Bring in your jack-o-lanterns and pumpkins at the end of the evening to avoid pumpkin smashing.

Go Ahead and Have a Fun and Safe Halloween!

Please share your home safety tips in the comment section.  Thank you.

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