Halloween is fast approaching, and Georgians are setting up Halloween lights and decorations outside their homes. Combining lights, inflatable monsters, tombstones, and spooky creatures, anyone can now turn their front lawn into a corner of Transylvania, and new lighting systems can make the tableaux spookier than ever.
Philips Hue, LIFX, and other systems are for sale at many big box electrical and hardware stores. Not all systems are suitable for outdoor use, so if you want to transform your home’s exterior, you’ll need to do your research first.
The Sylvania Smart+ system comprises indoor and outdoor lighting options including standard A19 bulbs, LED flood and spotlights and flexible lighting strips, as well as outdoor garden lights. There are white and color options available, and the choice of hues stretch into the thousands – perfect for holiday lighting in the fall.
Alongside its own apps (for Android and iOS devices), Sylvania Smart+ bulbs can also be controlled via partner systems such as SmartThings, Belkin WeMo, and the Wink Hub. There’s also voice control support for Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit/Siri, if you are using third-gen or newer bulbs.
So, if you’ve already invested in a smart home system, you may find you can simply add Smart+ bulbs to your home without the need for additional controllers. Check before purchasing, to make sure your system will work with the new technology.
Here are some safety tips when transforming your place. Follow these, and your Halloween will be scary, but not in an unsafe way:
- Look for the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) label on your lights. The UL label means the lights have been safety tested.
- Check any string 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 of the new cords blend into the lawn during the daytime, and become almost invisible after dusk. Many trick-or-treaters are wearing masks and cumbersome costumes and may not see thick cords snaking across the lawn.
- Likewise, make sure pathways are well lit. Many stores sell solar-powered guiding lights you can lay alongside a walkway.
- 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 attach your light show to trees, walls or other supports, use insulated staples that do not go into the metal 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 home improvement 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! 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 in 2017.