This is a guest post from Lea Schneider.
Usually when someone asks you if you’re ready for Halloween, they’re checking to see if you’ve stocked up on a bunch of miniature candy bars for the little goblins to grab.
While it is true that Halloween is a big treat night, being ready for Halloween means also making sure there aren’t any unexpected tricks at your house. As a homeowner, you have a responsibility to make sure all the guests on your property are as safe as possible. This checklist will help you make sure you are ready for lots of small visitors.
Tidy the Lawn
Trick-or-treaters are so excited that they often race across dark lawns from door-to-door. Sticking to the sidewalk isn’t going to happen, so be prepared. Take the time to walk around your lawn and remove any trip hazards, such as fallen limbs or big sticks. Store items like lawn chairs and bikes off to the side of the house and out of the way.
In many parts of the country, it’s time to put away garden hoses for the winter. Halloween is the perfect opportunity to pick up sprinklers and roll up hoses so they don’t become a hazard in the dark.
Turn on all of your exterior and porch lights to make sure they’re working properly, then change any burned-out or faulty bulbs. While you’re at it, make sure spotlights and motion detector lights are still pointing in the right direction.
Adding additional decorative lights is great fun and perfect for helping keep visitors safe. There are all kinds of Halloween-themed lights that can be added. Look for ways to light areas that are normally dark and add Halloween path lights, hang string lights in bushes and trees, or use spotlights to project goblins on the wall of the house.
Don’t use candles in pumpkins or luminaries where children will be walking. In their excitement, they may accidentally kick the candle over or drag a costume cape or princess gown over the flame. Light pumpkins, luminaries, and displays with battery-powered candles or electric lights and keep any electrical or extension cords tucked safely out of the way.
Clear the Way
Be sure to sweep your walk of fallen leaves and keep the path clear. As you decorate with skeletons and tombstones, be aware to set them outside of the walking path.
Plan for Pets
Halloween can be a tough night for pets. Between laughter, shouts, and ringing doorbells, your normally calm pet can get upset. Be sure to set them up securely in a safe, quiet spot during trick-or-treat times.
Join the Teal Pumpkin Project
Another way to make sure your visitors are safe is to join the Teal Pumpkin Project, run by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). Their goal is to make sure children with food allergies can safely trick-or-treat. It’s easy to participate: Just place a teal-colored pumpkin, either plastic or a painted one on your porch so children know you offer allergy-free treats. Keep a bowl of non-food treats available for the children that see your teal pumpkin and ask for them. You can offer inexpensive small items such as stickers, pencils, or spider rings.
Nothing is more fun than seeing the joy on neighborhood children’s faces as they laugh and scamper across your yard. Taking a few minutes to organize for safety will keep the smiles in place.
Organizing your home for the holidays certainly includes organizing for Halloween trick-or-treaters. Home organizing expert Lea Schneider provides some treats with her ideas for making Halloween safe for kids and adults alike. Lea writes for Home Depot, where a wide assortment of Halloween decorations can be found online.