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1. Secure railings
Young children, and the adults who often accompany them, will need the security and support of railings while climbing steps to get to your front door. If you’ve been putting off fixing that rickety railing, it’s time to get out the toolbox and make it secure for Halloween safety.
2. Clear walkways
Trick-or-treaters are too busy counting candy to pay close attention to where they’re walking, so it’s critical to survey your yard for potential trip and slip hazards.
Be sure your yard is free of tripping hazards like hoses and sprinklers. Also make sure to clear walkways of loose gravel, and clean moss off steps. If your home has an irrigation system, turn the system off well in advance of the big night so your lawn and walkways have a chance to dry.
3. Avoid using candles
A glowing Jack-O’-Lantern makes your home warm and welcoming to candy-seekers, but using a candle to illuminate a pumpkin can be dangerous. Costumes, paper decorations and ornamental straw can easily catch on fire. Instead of a traditional candle, use one powered by batteries (like a tea light).
4. Consider candy choices
No doubt buying Halloween candy is fun, but keep in mind that not all candy is appropriate for every child. Avoid candy that poses a choking hazard for toddlers, and remember that many children have peanut allergies. Even if the candy doesn’t contain peanuts, it could be made in a facility that handles peanuts. Check the candy bag’s label for a peanut allergy warning.
5. Use lots of lights
A dimly lit entryway helps set the spooky mood of Halloween, but it also increases the chance of an accident. Make sure your home's outdoor lights are working, and consider turning on floodlights to illuminate the darkest areas of your yard.
Even if you’re not going to be home, leave on porch lights for Halloween safety reasons, or make sure your motion sensor lights are active to dissuade unsavory characters from vandalizing your home. And, if you won’t be there, make sure you set your security system, just to be safe.
6. Contain your pets
Barking dogs not only scare trick-or-treaters of every age away—they also present a danger. A dog that breaks away from your home might not bite, but they could knock down a toddler or scare a teen into the street, causing even more danger.
Use crates or pet gates to keep all pets securely confined inside your home until the hustle and bustle of the night has passed.
7. Don’t put out unattended candy
Maybe you won’t be home on Halloween, or perhaps it’s difficult for you to answer the door, so you’ve put out a bowl of candy for kids to help themselves. While this seems like the right thing to do, someone could taint the candy. It’s probably unlikely, but it’s definitely not worth taking the chance.
8. Make room in the garage
If you’re headed out on Halloween, clean the garage and securely store your car in it. Children are three times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year, meaning that parking your car and trick-or-treating on foot is a good idea. And when you also consider potential vehicle vandalism and theft, your car is best kept in the garage on Halloween.
9. Use discretion when opening the door
While nearly all trick-or-treaters are innocent kids out to collect as much candy as they can possibly carry, you should still be cautious of whom you open the door for. And as the barrage of trick-or-treaters fades to just a few here and there, it’s a good idea to stop opening the door for the night.