Halloween can be just as much fun for adults as for children. As a homeowner or renter, however, you may have at least one serious responsibility on Halloween night: making your home safe for trick-or-treating. With excited, costumed kids parading to your front door at night, you’ll want to take some basic steps to keep them and your property safe. Here’s an annual reminder on how to prepare your home for trick-or-treaters. 

Turn on your exterior lights. Turning on your outside lights shows that you’re offering treats, helps avoid trips and falls and discourages vandalism. Consider adding portable LED lights along the path to your front door if your permanent lighting is insufficient. If you’re not offering treats this year, leaving your lights off is one way to send that signal, but a more secure option is to keep the lights on but add a highly visible note explaining that you’re not participating.

Remove trip hazards. Make sure your yard, driveway, sidewalk and porch are all clear of trip hazards. Clear leaves and sticks, clean up pet droppings, put away lawn decorations and equipment, store fragile and valuable items and tape down any cords over likely walking paths. You may also want to rope off any hazardous areas people may try to cut through.

Secure pets. Ensure your pets and trick-or-treaters don’t disturb each other by keeping your pets corralled during the festivities. Dogs that are very territorial or loud barkers may be best kept indoors in a secure room or wing of the home.

Consider allergy-safe handouts. You can offer a non-food treat or toy alternative for children with allergies and advertise the option by painting a pumpkin teal and leaving it near your door. More allergy-safe Halloween resources can be found here.

Avoid fire hazards. Candle-lit jack-o’-lanterns and luminarias make for great Halloween atmosphere, but they also risk igniting decorations, costumes or your home. Consider LED candle alternatives for greater safety and peace of mind. If you do use real candles, keep them in secure containers away from flammables like paper, hay and dried cornstalks.

Turn off your sprinkler system. Whether they’re automatic or not, make sure your sprinklers are off and stay off well before evening, so your lawn can dry and trick-or-treaters don’t get doused during their visit.

Be careful when arriving or leaving in a vehicle. Children are four times as likely to be struck by a vehicle on Halloween night than on average. If you’ll be driving to or from your home during this time, exercise extra caution. If you plan on leaving during the evening, consider backing your vehicle into your garage or driveway beforehand so you won’t need to risk reversing in the dark when kids are out and about.

Halloween may be a day for celebrating scares, but it shouldn’t be dangerous. By following these tips, you can help ensure your household and the trick-or-treaters who visit will enjoy a safe and fun holiday.