Halloween haunts usually mean strings of
decorative lights, fog machines, strobe and black lights, animatronics, electrically
powered decorations and the list goes on. These things all add to the ambience of your
haunt, but they also create the added dangers of fire, electrocution and other nasty and
potentially disastrous accidents. It is very important that you look for and eliminate
potential dangers from your Halloween lights and decorations that could lead to fires and
each electrical decoration. Cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose
connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire. If you find any
of these problems discard damaged light sets and replace
damaged power cords.
Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees,
house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only
insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. Or, run strings of lights
through hooks (available at hardware stores). Don't staple or nail through light strings
or electrical/extension cords - you could damage the wire or insulation, which could lead to
an electrical shock or fire.
Don't overload extension cords or
allow them to run through water or snow on the ground. Before using any light strings,
animated displays or other electrical products outdoors, make sure the product is approved
by a nationally recognized certification organization and marked "for outdoor
use", i.e. UL Rated.
Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single
extension cord. Don't use electrical decorations or light strings on materials that could
catch fire. It is important to turn off all electrical light strings and decorations
before leaving home or going to bed. Follow the use and care instructions that accompany
your electrical decorations.
Rule of thumb, most household circuit
breakers are rated up to either ten or fifteen amps (you can tell by looking at the
breakers themselves), and household current is generally 110 volts. Amps times volts equal
the amount of watts that a breaker can handle without tripping. With caution, learn what
breakers protect each section of your home and label them. Don't overload your circuit
For added electric shock protection, plug
outdoor electric lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit
interrupters (GFCIs). Portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies
are sold. GFCIs can be installed permanently to household circuits by a qualified
Turn off all lights when you go to bed or
leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire. Always have at least one
fire extinguisher available and know how to use it. In homes with small children, take
special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable.
Safe and Happy Halloween!