From Spotlight: Treat Your Home to a Trick-Free Halloween

7 Trick-or-Treat Safety Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

Some Halloween tricks can really cost you.

A group of young children at a door, trick or treating on Halloween
Image: Rawpixel/getty

Plenty of people love a good Halloween scare — as long no one gets hurt. And that includes your house.

Hot lights and kids on foot present some real risks to homeowners. Follow these seven tips for trick-or-treat safety:

#1 Make Your Outdoor Lights as Bright as Possible

Three trick-or-treaters waiting on a doorstep on Halloween
Image: Carolina Hanna/Offset

Check the label on your outdoor light fixtures and use the highest wattage bulbs they can safely handle. You can always switch them back after the holiday for a softer glow.

Related: Outdoor Lighting for Curb Appeal and Safety

#2 Prop Open the Storm Door for Trick-or-Treaters

Keep the screen or storm door propped open so it doesn't get in the way when kids are on your stoop. Yellow caution tape can do the trick while keeping with your Halloween theme. A 1,000-foot roll of three-inch-wide tape costs about $8.

#3 Use LEDs Instead of Real Candles

Brick path lined with jack-o-lanterns lit with LED candles
Image: Jamie Garbutt/Getty

We all know the danger of using real candles with a flame in decorations like carved pumpkins or paper lanterns; they're a fire waiting to happen. LED-bulb faux candles are much safer, and the light looks a lot like the real thing. Before you purchase Halloween decorative lights, be sure to look for safety certifications such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories).

#4 Use Motion Lights After the Trick-or-Treaters Have Left

When the trick-or-treaters go home, the vandals often come out. Motion sensor lights that illuminate the whole house can help scare away any mischief makers.

#5 Tighten Railings

Fixing wobbly or broken porch railings is a trick-or-treat safety must. They can cause severe injuries if anyone leans on them a little too hard. Hire a contractor or handyman to fix the problem before your guests arrive.

Related: Halloween Lighting Decoration Ideas

#6 Use Friction Tape on Steps

Jack-o-lanterns placed out of the path of trick-or-treaters
Image: Grabill Creative/Getty

Steps can get slippery in damp weather. Prepare by applying friction tape ($16 for a 60-foot roll of one-inch-wide tape) to steps.

If your neighborhood is at risk for an early freeze, stock up on ice melt, too ($20 for a 50-pound bag).

A related Halloween trick-or-treat safety tip: Clear your walk, steps, and stoop of any obstructions like potted plants – and even jack-o'-lanterns. Move them where no one can accidentally stumble on them.

#7 Trick-or-Treat Safety Tips

Here's a scary statistic: On average, over two times as many child pedestrians die on Halloween compared to other days, according to the Children's Safety Network. Of all the trick-or-treat safety guidelines, this one could be the most important.

Reduce risks to little pedestrians by clearing parked cars from the curb for better visibility and placing a reflective “Watch for Children" sign at the edge of the road. On busy streets, consider having adults take turns maintaining safety in the street with a hand-held traffic control light.


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Oliver Marks

Oliver Marks A former carpenter and newspaper reporter, Oliver Marks has been writing about home improvements for 16 years. He's currently restoring his second fixer-upper with a mix of big hired projects and small do-it-himself jobs.