This article was originally posted on Economical.com.
Halloween is just around the corner. Whether you’re going for a simple setup of cobwebs and cornstalks or building a haunted graveyard on your front lawn, taking a little extra care while you do it will not only help your decorations stay put, but it could also help you prevent a liability claim (which could come up if one of your visitors tripped on a topsy-turvy tombstone, for example). Consider these tips as you prepare your property for All Hallows’ Eve.
Decorating your yard before Halloween
- Beware of tripping hazards. Keep in mind that many of your trick-or-treaters will likely be wearing masks, which could limit their visibility and make it tougher for them to make their way to your front door. Make sure your decorations and any electrical cords are placed away from your main walkways and stairs to prevent trips, and check that your steps and railings are in good repair.
- Secure your skeletons. When hanging or placing decorations outside your home, secure them carefully so they don’t blow away or come loose and fall onto your walkways. This includes decorations that are placed on your lawn and your porch (like foam tombstones or scarecrows, for example).
- Follow the directions. If any of your decorations came with instructions, be sure to read them carefully — and follow them. (E.g., string lights may say they’re intended for indoor use only. If that’s the case, only use them indoors, as using them outdoors may be dangerous.)
- Go for fog. If you’re looking to create a spooky, foggy atmosphere, consider using a fog machine instead of dry ice, as dry ice can cause burns when touched. If you must use dry ice, be sure to keep it out of reach of visitors.
Last-minute to-dos for Halloween night
- Light it up. If you’re planning on handing out treats, leave your outdoor lights on (and be sure to replace any burnt-out bulbs) so trick-or-treaters know you’re home and can see a clear path as they make their way to your door.
- Don’t play with fire. Consider using no-flame battery operated candles to light up your jack-o’-lanterns. If you’d prefer to use real candles, place them in an area that will be out of reach for children and dogs, keep them away from wooden surfaces and flammable decorations, and don’t leave them unattended. If you’re using any string lights or decorations that require electricity, inspect the wires ahead of time to ensure they’re in good condition and don’t overload your circuits, as this could lead to a fire.
- Keep your pets contained. Make sure your cats and dogs are in a secure area where they won’t be able to sneak out when you open the door for trick-or-treaters. Not only could your pet scare those little goblins, but he could also get spooked by all those costumes and run off — or into a busy street.
These are just a few ways to prepare for a safe and spook-tacular Halloween. Once you’ve decorated your yard, remember to design safe costumes for the kiddos and map out a route for your trick-or-treating trek if you’re planning on heading out for the night.