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Halloween Safety: Tips for Families and Homeowners

September 26th, 2017

Don’t be scared, be prepared. Children and adults alike love Halloween, but it can be truly terrifying if you don’t plan ahead.

Jack-o’-lanterns, costumes, paper ghosts, and creepy decorations are fun and festive, but they can also present many hazards if proper safety measures are not followed.

Halloween Fire Statistics

  • From 2009-2013, decorations were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 860 reported home structure fires per year.
  • Nearly half of decoration fires in homes occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source.
  • These fires caused an estimated average of one civilian death, 41 civilian injuries and $13 million in direct property damage per year.
  • Forty-one percent of these incidents were started by candles; one-fifth began in the living room, family room, or den.

 Source: NFPA Fire Analysis & Research Division 

Halloween Safety Tips for Families and Homeowners

Make this Halloween a fire-safe one with these simple preventative measures:

Costume Safety Tips 

  • Choose fire-resistant costumes, wigs, and accessories.
  • Avoid billowing and flowing fabrics.
  • Dress for the weather.
  • Avoid masks entirely if you can. If a mask is a must, make sure the holes are large enough to breath and see out of.
  • Add reflective tape to costumes and bags.
  • Use flashlights or glow sticks as part of your costume.
  • Make sure all makeup is hypoallergenic and nontoxic. Test it on a small area first.
  • Add the child’s name and your home address and phone number on the tag of your child’s costume.
  • Children under the age of 10 should always be accompanied by an adult. If the child is over 10, make sure they are in a group of at least 3 people.
  • Discuss a planned route first. Set a curfew. Make sure at least one person in the group has a cell phone and that you know the number.
  • Tell your child not to eat anything until they get home and to stay away from all open flames.
  • Remove all costumes and makeup before going to bed.

Halloween Fire Safety Tips

  • Avoid flammable decorations, such as dried flowers, corn stalks, hay, and crepe paper. If you must use flammable decorations, make sure they are far away from all heat sources, including open flames, light bulbs, and heaters.
  • Use battery-operated candles or glow sticks for jack-o’-lanterns and candelabras. If you use a real candle, be extremely careful and make sure it is always under adult supervision. Follow the candle safety tips below:

Candle Safety Tips for Halloween

  • Use flashlights, battery-operated candles, and glow sticks in place of candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards.
  • Keep all entries and exits clear of decorations. Make sure all of your escape routes remain unblocked.
  • Teach children to stay away from all open flames and heaters. Teach them how to “stop, drop, and roll” if clothing does catch fire.
  • Make sure all of your smoke alarms are up-to-date and working properly.
  • Be sure that all extension cords have been rated for “outdoor use.”
  • Never overload extension cords or plug one extension into another.
  • Inspect all cords and decorations before use. If the plug or socket feels hot, do not use it.
  • Keep all decorations far away from heaters, light bulbs, candles, stovetops, and other heat sources.
  • Teach your children to stay away from open flames, including jack-o’-lanterns, candles, and torches.

More Halloween Fire Safety Tips from NFPA:

Halloween Fire Safety Tips - NFPA


Halloween Safety for Homeowners

  • Make sure your front yard, steps, and entryway are well-lit. Turn on all outdoor lights and replace any bulbs that may have burned out.
  • Consider adding pathway lights or flash lights if your front yard or walkway needs some extra lighting.
  • Rake and sweep your front pathway, steps, and porch. Remove any potential tripping hazards.
  • Highlight any bulging tree roots or other hazards.
  • Never run extension cords through traffic areas.
  • Avoid open flames, such as candles and torches. Use battery-operated candles, glow sticks, and flashlights instead.
  • Some children have food allergies. Consider adding non-candy treats, such as temporary tattoos, stickers, pencils, and erasers.

Heating and Fireplace Safety Tips

  • Maintain a minimum 3-foot clearance around all heating equipment and open fires, such as fireplaces, furnaces, and space heaters.
  • Never use the oven to heat your home. Learn more about carbon monoxide risks.
  • Have a qualified professional clean and inspect your heating equipment and chimneys every year. Consider signing up for a home maintenance plan.
  • Always inspect the fireplace and open the flue before use. Make sure there is a sturdy screen to prevent sparks and embers from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before disposing of them in a metal container.
  • Ashes should be placed in a metal container, doused with water, and then sealed with a tight lid. Always keep the container a safe distance from your home.
  • Turn portable space heaters off before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Test all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month.

Watch these NFPA Safety Videos for more tips this Halloween holiday:

Service Champions wishes you a safe and happy Halloween!

To schedule your fall furnace tune-up, contact us today. We’ll make sure your heating system and smoke/CO detectors are safe and efficient for the fall and winter seasons.

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