October is here, and homes are decked out for the holiday season — with Halloween decorations. Combining lights, inflatable monsters, tombstones, and spooky creatures, anyone can now turn their front lawn into a corner of Transylvania.
Here are some safety tips when transforming your place. Follow these and your Halloween will be scary, but not in an unsafe way:
- Check for the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) label on your lights. The UL label means the lights have been safety tested and are approved for use.
- Check your strings of lights for missing or broken sockets, faulty plugs, and frayed cords. Replace burnt-out bulbs and damaged strings. When in doubt, throw it out! You don’t want to risk a fire due to a bad plug or other electrical issue.
- Watch where you lay your wires! Some cords can blend into the lawn during the daytime, and become almost invisible at night. Keep in mind, a lot of trick-or-treaters are wearing masks and cumbersome costumes and may not see thick cords snaking across the lawn.
- Likewise, make sure your pathways are well lit. Many stores sell solar-powered lights you can lay alongside a walkway to guide trick-or-treaters.
- If you need an extension cord, please make sure it has passed the UL test. Also, use the correct extension cord for your plugs. If your plug has three prongs, do not “MacGyver” it into a two-pronged extension cord.
- If you must secure your light show to trees, walls or other supports, please use insulated staples and do not staple through the wires. Also, do not attach lights to metal objects.
- On that note, use only lights and cords made for the outdoors!
- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) are used for outdoor equipment to protect from shock. If you don’t have one, check your local hardware store for a portable one.
- Finally, make sure to unplug your decorations before going to bed or leaving the house. That two minutes could make the difference between safety and fire.
Above all, enjoy! This is a holiday where anyone can be whoever they wish for one night. But even Dr. Frankenstein had to follow safety procedures. Follow these rules and you’ll be good to ghoul every year.