ATEL’s Top 18 Halloween Safety Tips for You and Your Electrical System
- October 10, 2018
- Posted by: envision
- Category: Electricity
Halloween is right around the corner. That means fun decorations, creative costumes, mountains of delicious candy, and the occasional fright.
(Did we get you?)
Okay, maybe we didn’t manage to scare you. But what is scary is how dangerous Halloween can be if you don’t follow the right safety tips.
Halloween Safety Tips for Trick-or-Treaters
Whether you’re accompanying your kids or they’re heading out on their own, use these tips to make sure everyone stays safe.
1. Add Reflective Strips to All Costumes
This is great advice for any night-time adventures, not just Halloween! Reflective strips adhered to clothes and costumes will make it easier for drivers and other trick-or-treaters to see your kiddos coming.
Tip: If possible, try to get/make costumes out of light-coloured materials. This will show up much better than black, navy, and other dark colours.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Add Layers
October gets chilly, which means it can be a little difficult to go out trick-or-treating if your costume isn’t a warmly dressed Canadian.
But we say sacrifice the authenticity of the costume in favour of layers that will protect you from the chilly, damp night.
You can layer long-sleeve shirts, thermal clothing, or sweaters under your costumes. Yes, you’ll look a bit bulky, but that’s much better than being cold.
Tip: Adults, it’s a good idea to fill a little knapsack with hats, mittens, scarves, and water. This way, when the complaints about being cold start rolling in, you can quell them with a well-timed toque.
3. Make Sure All Costumes are Labelled with a Name, Address, and Phone Number
Halloween is a busy, high-energy night. It’s not impossible for an excited child to run ahead of the group, or stop to look in their candy bag and fall a little behind.
Most of the time it’s never far enough to become worried. But if you do get separated from your child, or a child you’re chaperoning, it’s a good idea for the kids to carry their name, address, and a phone number on them at all times.
This can be marked on their costume, or even on a carefully hidden identification card. Before you go on the hunt for candy, make sure all the kids have one, and understand what to do if they get separated from you.
4. Plan Your Route in Advance
You can minimize the risk of getting separated by making sure everyone knows what route you’re going to take beforehand. If you have a large group, it’s helpful to print out or draw up a little map that you carry with you for reference.
5. Everyone Should Have a Flashlight
Halloween famously doesn’t really get going until it’s dark outside. We recommend giving each child a small flashlight with a fresh set of batteries. You can get ones that clip onto their costume, or put them in their candy bags.
6. Always Have at Least One Fully-Charged Cell Phone per Group
While you’re getting everyone into their costumes, plug in your cell phone so it has time to fully charge before you leave. You should always have at least one phone per group in case of emergencies.
7. Stick to One Side of the Street at a Time
When you plan your route, make sure to stick to one side of a street at a time – preferably a street with sidewalks or a shoulder wide enough for people to walk safely.
Running back and forth across the street is dangerous for kids and drivers.
8. Drivers: Take Your Time on Hallow’s Eve
Drivers, if you can stay off the road on this particular holiday, we highly recommend it. If you can’t, make sure to take your time on residential streets.
9. Wait Until You’re Home to Inspect – then Enjoy – Your Candy
Even with your candy, it’s better to be safe than sorry. As difficult as it may be, make sure your kids understand not to eat candy while they’re trick-or-treating, and let you look at it first when you get home.
What you’re looking for is any spoiled food, torn wrappings, or homemade food from someone you don’t know well. You should also remove anything that could aggravate existing food allergies.
Halloween Safety Tips for Your Home
The following Halloween electrical tips will help keep your home spooky and safe at the same time.
10. Use Flame Resistant Material and Decorations
Many Halloween decorations – like Jack-o-Lanterns – use flames for a spooky effect. Any decorations you display or costumes you wear should be flame-resistant.
11. Use Battery-Operated Candles
Speaking of flames – why not make the switch to battery-operated candles? This will give you the same candle-lit effect, but be much safer for you and any trick-or-treaters – especially small, curious kids.
12. Inspect Your Decorations Before You Use Them
When you pull out that box marked ‘Halloween Decorations’, don’t just assume everything is exactly the same as last year. Inspect all your decorations for:
- Broken or burnt-out light bulbs
- Frayed cords or insulation
- Bare wires
These could all put you at risk for an electrical shock or fire – and that’s a scare you don’t want to have on Halloween.
13. Only Use Specially Marked Exterior Decorations for Outdoors
Everyone knows the real hot spot for Halloween decorations is outside. People love to spook-up their walkways, yards, porches, and windows.
14. Make Sure Your Outdoor Outlets Have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) help protect you from electrical shocks when your electrical current tries to take an unplanned path to the ground. They’re mostly installed in areas with water, like your kitchen or bathroom.
GFCIs should also be used on circuits that control your outdoor outlets. These outlets are exposed to the elements, which means you should have the extra protection GFCIs offer.
15. Invest in Outdoor Outlet Covers
Those elements we just mentioned are abundant in fall – think about how cold/damp some of your previous Halloweens have been!
Rain, dirt, and dust can work its way into your outdoor outlets if they aren’t properly protected. That’s why we recommend investing in outdoor outlet covers. You can find multiple models at local hardware stores, and they’ll add the extra layer of protection you’ve been missing.
16. Do Not Nail or Staple Electrical Cords
Just don’t do it. It’s tempting, we know. Cords can detract from an otherwise perfectly scary display. But nails and staples cause damage to the wire insulation, which is crucial to keeping electrical shocks and electrical fires at bay.
If you need to tuck cords out of site or secure them around the exterior of your home, use electrical tape as an alternative. You can also use zip ties to bind together excess cord and keep everything looking tidy.
17. Keep Cords Out of High-Traffic Areas
Your walkway, porch, and driveway should be cord-free. You’re going to have a lot of kids and adults walking to and from your door, and it’s so easy for someone to trip over a stray cord and get hurt.
If you have electrical decorations in any areas where people will be walking, make sure cords are far off to the side where there’s no risk of tripping.
18. Don’t Fall Asleep with Everything Plugged In
Depending on how late bedtimes are these days, Halloween can last a while. It’s tempting to just put clean up and take down off until the morning. But this is one thing you shouldn’t leave for another time.
Before you go to bed, make sure everything is turned off and unplugged. All candles should be blown out and taken inside, and all cords should be wrapped up and out of the way.
Have a Safe and Happy Halloween
The most important tip from ATEL is to have a safe, happy Halloween!
If you have questions about how to make your home’s electrical system safer all year round, visit our electrical services page.