Halloween is one of the most anticipated holidays of the year for kids and many adults, too. Dressing up in costumes, trick-or-treating, parties, pumpkin patches, hayrides and corn mazes make for great fun and amazing memories. Unfortunately, Halloween is also associated with an increasing number of home fires and hazards that you should learn to avoid to keep your holiday more safe than scary.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, Halloween decorations are the first thing to catch fire in an estimated average of 900 home fires each year, leading to approximately $13 million in direct property damage. For a happy and fire-free Halloween, check out these important Halloween fire prevention tips from ServiceMaster Restore®.
Halloween Fire Safety: Decorations
Pumpkins. The traditional jack-o-lantern features a smiling or spooky face that’s illuminated from within by candle. However, the lit candle inside a cleaned-out pumpkin is a fire hazard. Any lit candle left unattended is a Halloween fire hazard. Besides the risk of tipping over and catching surrounding decorations or dry leaves on fire if the pumpkin is bumped or accidently kicked by excited kids, lit candles left on wooden porches can easily ignite the wood itself.
Indoors, a candle-lit pumpkin accident can ignite carpeting, wood floors, tablecloths, draperies and other materials. That’s why it’s always best to use a battery-operated candle or LED light to illuminate your jack-o-lanterns – whether they’re inside or out.
Candles. Lining your mantle, porch stairs or windowsills with lit candles can create an eerie effect for Halloween night, but this type of decorating is a fire hazard and poses a serious risk of injury to guests – especially young children visiting your home for trick-or-treating. Replace burning candles with battery-operated, no-flame candles. You’ll create the same spooky effect in a much safer way.
Flammable materials. Straw, hay bales, raffia, corn stalks and other dry materials are flammable and should be kept at least three-feet from any heat source, including fireplaces, wood-burning stoves and outdoor fire pits.
Paper bag luminaries. Often used to line a walkway or the steps leading up to a porch, paper bag luminaries are beautiful Halloween decorations, but only when displayed safely. Never use lit candles in a paper bag luminary. They can easily be knocked over by a person, animal or even the wind and cause a fire. As with your other decorations, opt for flameless candles or LED lights instead.
Halloween Fire Safety Tips: Costumes
Dressing up as a favorite character, superhero or evil villain is at the heart of Halloween. Kids (and plenty of grownups) spend weeks planning and preparing their perfect costume. Keep yourself and your children safe when dressing up on Halloween by following these basic Halloween costume safety tips:
- Look for costumes and accessories that are labeled flame retardant.
- Avoid long, flowing capes and fabrics that can ignite if trailed through an open flame.
- Make sure children of all ages know how to “Stop! Drop! And roll!”
- Never allow children to carry lit candles – provide flashlights or glow sticks instead.
Keep your family and home safe this holiday with our important Halloween fire safety tips. If a fire does occur in your home this Halloween, be prepared with a household fire safety and evacuation plan ahead of time. As always, if you find you need help after a home fire, call ServiceMaster Restore® and trust the professionals to get your life back to normal as soon as possible.