By Barbara Pronin
Americans love Halloween. According to a recent survey, Halloween is second only to Christmas in terms of how much we spend on decorations. But before the Great Pumpkin sends a host of little ghosts and goblins trick-or-treating on your street, the cautious underwriters at Traveler’s Insurance urge us to do what we can to make sure the evening is safe and happy:
Clear the way – Walk your property to minimize potential accidents. Roll up hoses and get them out of the way, and make sure the walkway is well-lighted and clear of obstacles.
Place decorations carefully – Set up lawn displays with foot traffic in mind and place them to prevent tipping over, blowing away, or becoming a tripping hazard.
Choose safe décor - Avoid dried flowers, cornstalks and crêpe paper because they are highly combustible – and keep decorations away from heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
Take care with lighting – Avoid open flames. Use LED lighting or battery-operated candles, and never drape fabric over light bulbs, which can generate heat and start a fire.
Minimize electrical risk – Plug all outdoor lights and decorations into ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to help reduce the risk of electric shock. Avoid daisy-chaining extension cords when plugging in decorations, which can cause overheating – and never staple, nail through, or fasten electrical wires or extension cords in any way as that can damage the wire or insulation and cause electrical shock or fire.
Drive with extra care – Parents everywhere will be rushing home in time to get their kids ready for Halloween. Drive neighborhoods slowly and with caution, looking out for less cautious drivers and/or costumed kids crossing the street.
Choose costumes wisely – Utilize bright colors and or flashlights to make sure your child is easily visible in darkened streets. Young children should trick-or-treat in small groups with parents supervising nearby.