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. Discard damaged sets
of lights or damaged props that can no longer be used safely.
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
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
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
or animals, take
special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable.
safety, use common sense and you'll have a happy, memorable
Happy and safe holidays!