Halloween is right around the corner. For some, this may mean a fabulous night filled with dressing up, trick-or-treating, going to parties, and eating candy. Whether you want to participate in the spooky neighbourhood fun or you just want a quiet night at home, here are 15 tips to protect your home this All Hallow’s Eve.
1. Be a Good Neighbour
This applies all year round. If the locals know and like you, they’re less likely to pull Halloween tricks.
On the night itself, don’t antagonise the hoards of people you may get at your doorstep. If you don’t have candy, don’t answer the door – hang a sign, keep your house lights off, shut your curtains – do all of the things that make it obvious you are not open for trick-or-treating business. If you do answer your door, be friendly. While it’s not your fault if someone makes bad choices, don’t give them any reasons to target you that evening.
2. Close Any Openings
If you have a letter slot that you normally receive your mail through, or any other opening accessible to the public, you should definitely think about closing it up for the night.
Take some tape and go over both the inside and outside of the opening. This leaves you less vulnerable to pranks like stink bombs, a nasty Halloween trick!
3. Protect Your Car
Your car can be an easy target for vandals and pranksters. If possible, park it in your garage or behind your house – as far from the curb as possible – to get it out of easy reach. This will lessen the odds of any drive-by egging incidents.
4. Protect Your Pets
Will all the people about and the increased activity, pets can get very anxious on Halloween. Even if your pet is normally kept outside, it’s a good idea to bring them in and keep them safely hidden away. If you’re opening your door frequently to hand out candy, keep your pets locked out of that area. The last thing you’ll want is for your pet to get lose, spook visitors, and potentially get injured!
If you’re going to be away from home for the night, it’s also worth hanging a sign warning of guard dogs, etc.
5. De-Clutter Your Lawn
People are going to be out and about this night. For their safety (and to protect yourself against law-suits or angry parents), make sure to pick up and put away anything that might trip or injure visitors (welcome or not). This might include removing things like garden decorations such as gnomes or flamingos, gardening tools like shovels, rakes and hoses, and sprinklers.
If you are expecting trick-or-treaters, clear a path: make it obvious what door you’ll be answering and remove any obstacles in the way. This might include loose gravel, moss, or anything that might trip or slip young guests.
6. Light It Up
People often say to turn off all lights, indoor and outside, if you’re not giving out treats. However, a dark and quiet house can be easy pickings for vandals and pranksters. It’s advisable to keep the porch lights on and the inside lights off if you’re not going to be home, or the reverse if you are going to be there but don’t want to be disturbed.
Also, if there are any particularly dark parts of your property that you are concerned about, if might be worth your while to get a flood light shining on there. Tricksters don’t tend to like getting caught in a spotlight.
7. Have Candy Handy
While there might be times when your bowl runs empty, you want to keep these times to when you’re not in the middle of answering the door. Although most of your visitors don’t want to cause your harm, some might take advantage of an unattended door if you have to leave to replenish your candy stash.
8. Strength in Numbers
Adding onto the previous tip, it’s also a good idea to have more than one person around to answer the door. Just in case you happen to come across one of those rare people who are less than scrupulous, they’re less likely to try and overpower someone if backup is in sight. At the very least, have someone on hand to call the police should the worst happen.
Also, don’t forget to have your phones charged and ready to go!
9. Decorate With Care
While a porch covered in pumpkins and candles may look spooky and fantastic, it does create a real safety hazard. All of the little ones may not be as fire-aware as we wish, and a lot of the costumes they wear are extremely flammable. For your own protection and the safety of everyone, make sure flames are out of reach and safely monitored.
You might also want to consider using battery-operated candles in your decor.
10. Check Your Porch
If guests have to come up on your porch for their Halloween treat, make sure everything is safe and secure. This is particularly a concern for railings, especially in the case of inclement weather. A slip and fall could be disastrous for you and your visitors.
11. Choose Treats Wisely
Your trick-or-treaters will appreciate a little bit of care when selecting the candy you give out. Consider choking hazards for the littlest visitors, as well as allergies. (Note: even if the candy itself doesn’t contain peanuts, you need to carefully check the packaging to make sure if wasn’t made in the same place as something that does.)
If you want to provide an all-inclusive Halloween atmosphere, consider putting a teal pumpkin outside. This teal pumpkin indicates that you are not giving out any food products for treats, therefore ensuring that everyone can visit you at no risk.
12. Keep Candy At Arms’ Length
Many people choose to simply put a bowl of candy out on the porch and walk away, letting visitors help themselves. However, this opens the entire bowl up to contamination. No one wants little ones to go home with candy that’s been messed with, but you can only guarantee that if you’ve kept it safely with you all evening.
13. Lock Your Doors
Even if you’re opening your door frequently throughout the evening, you should make sure to lock your door every time. If you don’t, you’ve lost the control over who can and can’t enter your home. Plus it’s good to get into the habit of locking it behind you every time so you don’t accidentally go to bed with an unlocked door.